What We Do

Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is a disease that is treatable and preventable, and yet many people continue to suffer and die because they cannot get the health care they need.

Background

Cervical cancer is a disease that is treatable and preventable, and 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 the name of a group of viruses – many of which are spread through sexual contact – that can lead to cervical cancer in women and genital warts in both men and women. 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.

Why It Matters for Latinas

The incidence of cervical cancer for Latina women in the United States is among the highest of all racial/ethnic groups, and almost twice as high as non-Latina white women. Latina women have the second highest mortality rate from cervical cancer (after black women), although mortality for Latina women is higher in communities along the Texas-Mexico border. Latinas face high mortality rates from cervical cancer as a result of their low rates of cervical cancer screening. Latinas’ 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 and lack of English proficiency. Cervical cancer is preventable, but sadly, about 85% of women who die from cervical cancer never had a pap smear.

In June 2006, the FDA approved the first vaccine, Gardasil®, manufactured by Merck & Company, developed to prevent cervical cancer caused by four strains of HPV; two of which are responsible for 70% of cervical cancer incidences and two strains which are responsible for 90% of genital warts caused by HPV.

How We Fight for Justice

NLIRH works to increase awareness of cervical cancer detention, prevention, and treatment options and reduce the tolls of this disease on our communities.