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'Disease of Poverty': University of South Carolina Releases Journal on Cervical Cancer, Health Disparities
Date:12/11/2009

eport is timely, given the recent guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that called for less frequent cervical cancer screening among some age groups, Glover said.

Arnold School researcher Dr. Heather Brandt said that, although cervical cancer deaths nationwide have dropped 75 percent since the Pap test was introduced for screening, not all women have benefited equally from advancements in screening.

"Cervical cancer is a disease of poverty," she said. "Women of color, women living in rural areas and women living in poverty continue to develop cervical cancer and die at much higher rates.

"The reports in this journal highlight the challenges that we continue to face in addressing cervical cancer in the United States and around the world," she said.

A critical need in meeting these challenges is having community partners work with women in cities and rural areas around the Palmetto State.

Social worker Tiffany Stewart, a community liaison, said, "When community residents, community-based organizations and institutions that will be affected are involved in initiating and promoting a call to action, then permanent, successful change is more likely to occur."

One such effort is the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Z-HOPE (Zetas Helping Other People Excel through Mind, Body and Spirit) Program, which is focused on increasing cervical cancer awareness among college students.

Among the findings reported in the journal:

  • S.C. women who did not receive a Pap test were more likely to be over age 65, unmarried, have less than a high-school education and be from a non-Hispanic race group, including African Americans.
  • Nearly one-fourth of women not receiving a Pap test lacked healthcare coverage and nearly 20 percent were unable to see a healthcare provider because of costs.
  • A telephone survey of African-American and white women found that about hal
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