A new study from researchers at Johns Hopkins University has found that the risk of dying from cervical cancer is higher for women in the United States than previously thought.

In fact, African American women are dying from cervical cancer at a rate 77 percent higher than previously thought, while white women are dying from the disease at a rate that's 47 percent higher.

Read: Cervical Health Awareness Month: Everything You Need To Know About Preventing And Treating Cervical Cancer

Researchers examined data on cervical cancer mortality rates from the National Center for Health Statistics and the National Cancer Institute, according to a press release. In their findings, the team excluded women who’d received a hysterectomy — which is one in five women in the U.S. — because they do not have a cervix; this exclusion creates a more accurate estimate, researchers said in the release. 

The team also found that many of the women dying from cervical cancer are over the age of 65. So what does that mean? Well, current screening guidelines only suggest that women between the ages of 21 and 65 receive routine Pap smears to test for cervical cancer.

"These data tell us that as long as a woman retains her cervix, it is important that she continue to obtain recommended screening for cervical cancer since the risk of death from the disease remains significant well into older age," said study leader Anne F. Rositch, PhD, MSPH, according to the press release.

These findings do not explain why black and older women are dying from cervical cancer at higher rates, Rositch expressed, but they do emphasize that more women are getting cervical cancer.

Read: Cervical Cancer Update 2017: Symptoms Of The New Subtype Of Female Reproductive Cancer

In 2017, about 12,820 new cases of cervical cancer will be diagnosed, according to the American Cancer Society. An estimated 4,210 women will die from cervical cancer this year.

Source: Beavis AL, Gravitt PE, Rositch AF. Hysterectomy-corrected cervical cancer mortality rates reveal a larger racial disparity in the United States. Cancer. 2017.

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