The Grapevine

Which State Recorded The Most Cervical Cancer Deaths In 2019?

Cervical cancer once became the leading cause of cancer death among women in the U.S. Now, the disease is again killing more women in Alabama and Mississippi, which encouraged local officials to launch a campaign to spread awareness and help residents reduce their risk. 

The latest number of affected women in Alabama and Mississippi are higher in any other state across the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The low number of vaccinated people contributed to the increase in cases in the two states. 

Cervical cancer is a preventable condition. Completing all three rounds of the vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV) in childhood has been proven effective to block many types of the disease, according to Jennifer Young Pierce, head of cancer control and prevention and a professor of interdisciplinary clinical oncology at the Mitchell Cancer Institute (MCI). 

However, in Alabama, only 20 percent of children aged 11 to 15 received the recommended doses of the HPV vaccine. The figure was even smaller in some areas, particularly in Bullock County where only 1 percent of girls vaccinated against the virus, AL.com reported Tuesday

Pierce said that women should consider getting Pap tests and HPV tests regularly. 

“I always say to parents ‘if you want grandchildren, you want this vaccine,’” she said. “Because that's how you protect your children in the future, but also for girls in particular. It's how you protect their fertility because most of the treatments for cervical cancer take away a woman's fertility.”

To address the growing risk in Alabama, the Mitchell Cancer Institute (MCI) launched the “Go Teal and White” campaign. MCI will work with various organizations to raise awareness about cervical cancer in January, including the American Cancer Society, Alabama Public Health, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the Laura Crandall Brown Foundation and the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

Go Teal and White will involve a cervical cancer course with cancer survivor and award-winning women’s health advocate Tamika Felder. Pierce said they hope to see women who received abnormal Pap test results at the event. 

“The number of people who get a Pap test in Alabama is the same as the national average,” she said. “We have lower rates of follow up on those abnormals [results.]”

Cervical cancer Completing all three rounds of the vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV) in childhood has been proven effective to block many types of cervical cancer. Pixabay

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