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Cervical cancer is highly preventable. That is why it’s so alarming that Latins with a cervix are twice as likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer than other individuals with a cervix. 

Why It Matters 

The incidence of cervical cancer for Latins with a cervix in the United States is among the highest of all racial/ethnic groups, and almost twice as high as non-Latins with a cervix. Latins have the second highest mortality rate from cervical cancer (after Black individuals), although mortality for Latins is higher in communities along the Texas-Mexico border

The Big Reason?

Latins face high mortality rates from cervical cancer due to low rates of cervical cancer screening. Latins’ limited access to adequate cervical cancer screenings is a result of barriers to access, such as:

  • fear associated with their lack of immigration status
  • embarrassment
  • lack of knowledge
  • lack of insurance
  • lack of English proficiency

Sadly, according to the American Cancer Society, about 85% of individuals with a cervix that die from cervical cancer never had a pap test. 

What Is Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer is a treatable and preventable disease, yet many people continue to suffer and die because they cannot get the health care they need to prevent and treat this condition. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a group of viruses that can cause cervical cancer. Certain types of HPV are spread through sexual contact and can lead to cancer of the cervix and genital warts in all genders. According to the American Cancer Society, there are approximately 10,000 cases and 3,700 deaths from cervical cancer in the U.S. per year.

How Can You Prevent Cervical Cancer?

  1. HPV vaccine, the primary prevention of HPV infection is available through vaccination. The HPV vaccine is recommended for children ages 11-12, as it is most effective years before sexual activity begins, but the vaccine approval is for ages 9-45, so even if you didn’t get vaccinated at a young age, you still can. 
  2. Regular screenings, all individuals with a cervix should get regular wellness exams that include an HPV test and/or Pap exam to check for any abnormal cells on the cervix that could be precancerous. Your provider can help determine how often you should schedule a wellness exam. 
  3. Use protection, condoms and/or dental dams use during vaginal, anal, or oral sex to help lower the chances of spreading HPV.

Planned Parenthood is Here for the Latinx Community 

Anyone with a cervix is at risk for cervical cancer. So, no matter who you sleep with or what your gender identity is, it’s essential to take care of your cervical health.

Make sure to schedule a Pap exam and/or HPV test. You can schedule your Annual Wellness Visit at your local Planned Parenthood. Call (714) 922-4100 to make an appointment. 

Planned Parenthood is honored to serve Latino communities and be a resource for our patients — who trust us for quality, affordable health care. We want to see you thrive and live the life you want. Celebrate Latinx Heritage Month by sharing this information with a Latin you love.