XXI Seaweed Symposium

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Factors Affecting Pap Screening And Cervical Cancer Rates In Black Women Of Caribbean Decent

Cervical cancer, as any other form of cancer, is a great problem nowadays because of the high mortality levels. In my essay I would like to talk about cervical cancer among black women of Caribbean Descent in order to find out what factors affect this cancer, and whether black women can be considered as a risk group.

Any kind of cancer starts when cells in human body start functioning in a wrong way. Instead of growing, dividing and then die, cells start growing out of control and forming abnormal cells. They become cancel cells that usually form tumors. This is how all kinds of cancer start and develop.

Since usually a kind of cancer is named depending on the part of the body organ where it is developing, it is clear that cervical cancer is the cancer of the cervix, which is the part of the womb (uterus). According to statistics, this kind of cancer had been one of the main reasons of cancer deaths among women in the United States for many years. But nowadays the mortality level of cervical cancer is already decreasing.

In terms of black women and the cervical cancer, the factors that affect it are different. The first factor is HPV – Human Papilomavirus. According to the research, this virus is one of the factors that can cause development of cervical cancer. But in comparison with white women, bodies of black women do not clear the virus fast enough, therefore the risk that the virus can cause the cancer in black women’s organisms is higher. For example, the body of a white woman needs in average 12 months to clear, while for a black women it is 6 months longer. Doctors and scholars cannot find an answer why it is like this, and the only one explanation of such a difference is the race. Thus, it is possible to say that in general white women are more resistant to the cervical cancer that black women.

As it was mentioned above, nowadays the mortality level of the cervical cancer is already lower, and there are less and less the cases of this cancer. This positive change can be explained by the development and using of pap screening that helps both in diagnosis and treatment of the cervical cancer. It is recommended for women older than 30 years old to conduct the pap screening regularly in order to prevent the development of the cancer. But unfortunately, black women from the Caribbean Descent are checked not very often and not so regularly, therefore most of cases of the cervical cancer in the Caribbean are fatal. The reasons for this are high costs of pap screening and vaccination, and poor state of the health care system in the Caribbean Descent, the results of which is that only few black women have access to the proper diagnosis and treatment.


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