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Cervical cancer is killing more American women than previous studies show

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PHOENIX — A common female cancer is more deadly than previously thought.

A study from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health concluded African-American women die of cervical cancer at a rate 77 percent higher than previously thought. Caucasian women die at a 47 percent higher rate.

The American Cancer Society estimated that nearly 13,000 women will be diagnosed with the disease this year and about 4,200 will die from it.

Dr. John Farley of Scottsdale, leads the gynecologic-oncology program at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. He said the study’s numbers were startling.

“This is a cancer of young women – it can peak around age 35,” he said. “These are young women with families, with children.”

Researchers at Johns Hopkins analyzed data on cervical-cancer deaths in the U.S. between 2000 and 2012. The numbers came from the National Center for Health Statistics and the National Cancer Institute.

As a control, the study also added the numbers of women who had their cervixes removed in hysterectomies.

Farley said even with those control numbers, the number of deaths was disturbingly high, especially in the African-American population.

“[African-American women] have hysterectomies at a significantly higher rate than Caucasians,” he said.

Farley added screening recommendations were adequate, but more minority populations needed access to them.

He said if detected early, the disease was one of the most successfully treatable malignancies.

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