Friday, February 17, 2006—Black women living in poor communities are less likely to be up-to-date with cervical cancer screening than those living in wealthier areas, according to new findings from the Black Women’s Health Study.

“This suggests that in addition to individual-level intervention to increase cervical cancer screening, there might be some benefit in neighborhood-level interventions focusing on high-poverty areas,” said Dr. Geetanjali Datta, from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

Cervical cancer is the fifth most common cancer among African American women in the US, Datta and her colleagues note in the medical journal Cancer. Also, a recent report by the National Cancer Institute observed that women living in high-poverty areas have a 71 percent higher cervical cancer mortality rate than women living in wealthier areas.

While screening for cervical cancer with a Pap test is recommended at least every three years, socioeconomic factors can make it difficult for some women to get tested.

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