Study: Minority Women Receive Poorer Care for Cervical Cancer

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In a large-scale study published today in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, researchers found that nearly half of women from racial minorities receive cervical-cancer care that doesn’t meet national standards.

This corroborates a recent investigation published in late January showing that black women in the United States die of cervical cancer at rates comparable to those in developing countries.

This study, published by Laurel Rice, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and colleagues, examined the NCI guideline-based care received by 16,195 women with advanced cervical cancer between the years 2004 and 2012.

Results revealed that the care received by women for advanced cervical cancer met NCI standards 51.5 percent of the time for Hispanic women, 53 percent of the time for black women and 58 percent of the time for white women. Previous investigators have established that care that meets NCI guidelines is associated with improved survival rates.

“The results of this study demonstrate that substantial racial disparities persist in the treatment of locally advanced cervical cancer,” said Rice. “This disparity in care is not attributable to income, access to care, disease stage or histology.”

Rice and her collaborators showed that even when cared for at larger-volume hospitals, minority women are less likely to receive NCI guideline-compliant care.

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President Joe Biden’s proposed Advanced Research Projects Agency-Health would be a welcome partner to NCI—particularly in conducting large, collaborative clinical investigations, NCI Director Ned Sharpless said.“I think having ARPA-H as part of the NIH is good for the NCI,” Sharpless said April 11 in his remarks at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. “How this would fit with the ongoing efforts in cancer at the NCI is still something to work out.”

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