(Atlanta) – Cervical Cancer Risk Factors For Black Women at a Higher Rate Than White Women, the US Federal government, and many states as well as local governments, do not do enough to prevent cervical cancer deaths, according to a report issued by the Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative for Economic as well as Social Justice (SRBWI) as well as Human Rights Watch, which focused on the state of Georgia.
Cervical cancer claimed the lives of 4,290 women in the U.s. in 2021, with a disproportionately high incidence of Black women. The issue was initially raised by Human Rights Watch 3 years ago, with an emphasis on Alabama.
‘We Need Access’ about cervical cancer
Stopping Avoidable Deaths from Cervical Cancer in Rural Georgia, an 82-page paper, details how state as well as federal policies ignore rural Black women’s reproductive healthcare require. Cervical cancer can be prevented and treated. In 2020, 194 countries pledged to end cervical cancer globally, making it the first time such a pledge has been made for a malignancy. Cervical cancer death rates in Georgia have decreased in recent decades, but they remain high, and racial inequities exist.
“Cervical cancer deaths reflect systemic restriction from vital health care as well as detail,” said Annerieke Daniel, a Rights Watch women’s rights analyst. “Just getting to a doctor is challenging in rural regions, and the substantial racial differences in results reveal a clear pattern of prejudice and neglect.”
Cervical Cancer Risk Factors For Black Women
9 community-based researcher contacted 148 people in 3 rural Georgia counties: Baker, Coffee, as well as Wilcox, the majority of whom were Black women aged 18 to 82. Researchers also spoke with 46 academics, medical providers, public health officials, as well as members of non-governmental health, reproductive rights, as well as justice organisations in Georgia, as well as analysing data from secondary sources, such as the Georgia Breast as well as Cervical Cancer Project’s government financed data.
Racial discrimination and mistrust of the medical profession combine hurdles to treatment and prevention cervical cancer for Black women in rural Georgia. Lack access to inexpensive and reliable reproductive health care, a lack of gynaecological care, a lack of transportation in rural areas, and a lack of awareness are all barriers.
Black women are much more than 1.5 times more probable as white women to die from cervical cancer on a national level. According to Georgia data, black women’s cervical cancer death rates were about one-and-a-half times higher than white women’s rates from 2014 – 2018, despite the fact that overall cervical cancer rates both for groups were roughly the same. As women get older, the discrepancies widen, with Black women over 70 nearly 3 times as likely to die.
Screenings that finish at the age of 65 may be losing opportunities to reduce cervical cancer incidence as well as mortality in older women.
It matters where you live. The greater the distance between urban areas, the higher the incidence and fatality rates. In rural regions, where Black women have a cervical cancer incidence rate about 50 percent higher than white women, racial differences are especially evident.
Between 2014 and 2018, 7.7% of Black women ages 21 to 65 in Georgia had never been tested for this, relative to 4.9% of white women. Black women are much more likely to be treated with this later in their lives and have worse 5-Year survival rates than white women.
Overall health disparities are a product of institutional racism, discrimination, as well as exclusion from the healthcare system, and these discrepancies are consistent with that. In Georgia, black individuals are more likely to be impoverished, have no health insurance or appropriate access to health care, and have greater rates of chronic illnesses and poor health outcomes. However, studies show that when Black women having this have the same household average income like white women, they have a greater chance of dying from the disease.
The majority of this cancer cases may be avoided with regular screenings and follow-up care. However, the women interviewed said they had trouble affording screenings as well as follow-up treatment. Many of these women, the bulk of whom were uninsured, stated they routinely avoided medical checkups or cancer screenings because of the expense.
“The level toward which Black women have faced the worst type of neglect as well as abuse at the hands of certain physicians who are less empathetic and fail to treat all patients fairly,” Olivia Coley, a community-based researcher as well as human rights commissioner for SRBWI, stated. “Medical discrimination has resulted in internalised trauma as well as years of gen mistrust as well as fear.”
Georgia’s state government has refused to expand Medicaid under the US Affordable Care Act (ACA) to cover additional low-income individuals, resulting in a $3 billion loss in federal revenue per year. Over 255,000 individuals in Georgia do not have access to affordable healthcare. Rather, a hodgepodge of publicly financed services, including those for gynaecological care, exists.
Getting transportation was also a challenge for the women. There are no obstetrician-gynecologists in nearly half of the state’s 159 counties. According to Georgians for a Healthy Future, 117 of Georgia’s 159 counties have a health transportation shortfall.
The human papillomavirus (HPV), even though there is an efficient vaccination, causes the great majority of cervical cancer cases. HPV and Pap tests are simple screenings that detect early alterations in cervical cells that suggest a risk of cervical cancer. Precancerous lesions can be readily monitored or eliminated with early follow-up. Cervical cancer that is detected and treated early enough has a 5-years survival rate of 93 percent, but the percentage lowers drastically as the cancer progresses.
In Georgia, women and girls do not have enough information to make educated decisions about cervical cancer prevention and treatment. State restrictions make it difficult to obtain information about HPV and the HPV vaccination. Georgia also fails to provide complete, inclusive, and reliable info on sexual as well as reproductive health to young folks.
“I recognise there are a lot of options out there,” a 30-year-old Baker County woman said, “but we aren’t as aware as we should be.” “I’m not sure if it’s because individuals are withholding this knowledge, but there are certain programmes created to meet our requirements that we are unaware of.”
Misinformation, fear, and stigma associated with cervical cancer treatment are fueled by information gaps.
The Georgia Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (BCCP), which is the only public programme in Georgia that offers no-cost colposcopies and diagnostic testing to uninsured and underprivileged women, fills a major gap in providing comprehensive cervical cancer treatment to low-income women.
However, the program’s capacity to recruit and assist qualified women is severely limited due to a lack of finance and a nurse shortage. Despite their critical role in linking disadvantaged women to timely and comprehensive cervical cancer treatment, the programme is only able to hire eight patient navigators to assist women. Patient navigators are only available in seven of the state’s 18 public health districts, leaving women in the remaining 11 without this vital resource for comprehensive cancer treatment.
The Georgia state and federal governments should remove obstacles that contribute to avoidable cervical cancer deaths and guarantee that all women in Georgia have access to cheap, accessible, and equitable reproductive health care and information, according to the groups. Medicaid coverage should be expanded by the state. The federal government should follow through on its recent promise to finance health-care initiatives that address racism-related disparities.
“It’s vital to expand Medicaid not merely to remove obstacles to care,” Coley added. “However, it will also assist to replace the hyperpartisan rhetoric around healthcare access concerns with a moral signal that the government is willing to right past wrongs by enhancing physical and psychological health for individuals who have been systematically excluded.”
The opinions presented in this article should not be regarded as a replacement for medical advice. For more information, please contact your treating physician.