Vietnamese women have higher rates of cervical cancer than any other racial or ethnic group (including Hispanics), according to U.S. cancer-registry data. Many experts believe this is the case because Asian American women tend to have much lower rates of cervical cancer screening than other racial and ethnic groups. Our researchers have found that, at least in Seattle communities, cultural beliefs contribute to these lower screening rates.
The good news is, cervical cancer can be treated if abnormal cells are found early enough. Many studies have shown that regular screening with the Papincolaou (Pap) test is linked with dramatic reductions in cervical-cancer deaths. Our researchers are working on ways to improve education about the need for these screenings in high-risk communities.
The American Cancer Society recommends yearly Pap screening for women aged 21 to 30, and screening every two to three years for women over age 30 who have had three normal tests in a row. About 90 percent of women whose cervical cancer was detected by a Pap test will survive. Learn more about cervical cancer screening and symptoms at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.
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