Researching Cervical Cancer Disparities



Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH)


United States

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In Massachusetts, Black, non-Hispanic women are more likely to receive a late-stage cervical cancer diagnosis and have higher cervical cancer mortality rates despite their higher rates of screening compared with women of other ethnic or racial groups. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has established the goal of reducing “the proportion of Black, non-Hispanic women diagnosed with late-stage (regional and distant) cervical cancer to 2 per 100,000” by 2016.

To achieve this objective, JSI conducted and analyzed data from a series of 6 focus groups with a total of 64 participants, including consumers, providers, and community leaders in the field of women’s health. Through these sessions, JSl sought insight on barriers contributing to disparate cervical cancer mortality rates among Black, non-Hispanic women in Massachusetts. Key themes that the groups delved into included education and follow-up around screenings, cultural influences, patient-provider relationships and insurance coverage, among others. This project has led to further, ongoing work surrounding this disparity in cancer screening and mortality rates.

Read more about the study in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing, Barriers to Cervical Cancer Screening and Follow-up Care among Black Women in Massachusetts.

*Massachusetts Department of Public Health Cancer Plan: Issue and Objectives for Cervical Cancer, p. 3.

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