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Laboratory Scientist

Research Shows...

Post-menopausal women are at an increased risk for developing gynecologic cancers. In addition, health disparities – or differences – exist among different groups of women that could contribute to increased rates of gynecologic cancers. These health disparities can result in some women lacking access to a gynecologist or other healthcare provider, delayed diagnosis of gynecologic cancer, or not receiving the proper screenings and tests needed to ensure a healthy future.

The Facts
All five gynecologic cancers - cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar - present differently with unique signs and symptoms. All women are at risk for gynecologic cancers, and those risks increase with age. Early detection is optimal for treatment to be most effective. Recent research shows the median age of gynecologic cancer diagnosis for all women in the US is 62 years. Pap Smear tests and screening exams have reduced incidence rates by 50%. ​According to the CDC, 1 in 20 women between the ages of 66-70 has never had a Pap smear. As women age, the less likely they are to be screened.

Growing Number of Seasoned Women
Between 2020-2030, the older population is expected to grow by 18 million, raising the median age of the U.S. population from age 38 to age 43 by 2060. ​According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2060 nearly 1 in 4 Americans will be over 65 years of age, with over 51 million of those 65 and older being women. Seasoned women are expected to live for another 26 years, while men over 65 are expected to only live for another 22 years.

Racial Disparities
According to Census Bureau projections, the 2020 life expectancies at birth for Black people are 79.8 years for men compared with 82.7 years for women. Female Black Americans make up 12.9% of the US population, but this is expected to grow to 15.2% in 2060. According to the CDC, Black women had the highest rate of vaginal cancer (0.8 per 100,000 women), followed by Hispanic women, White women (0.6), and Asian/Pacific Islander women (0.4). In addition, Black females have 15 times the AIDS rate as compared to White females, higher rates of STI diagnoses (including syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia), late diagnoses for certain gynecologic cancers, and generally have lower survival rates when diagnosed with gynecologic cancer.

Continued Gynecologic Care
Women can expect to spend about a third of their lifetime after menopause, so it is still important to see your obstetrician–gynecologist (ob-gyn) regularly for a routine care visit. An annual well-woman visit, as it is called, may consist of a pelvic exam, a Pap smear, cancer, and STI screenings, as well as counseling by a gynecologist or women’s health practitioner to cover other female sexual health needs. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends continued gynecologic care and screening on a regular basis.

Additional Resources

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