W2 Reflection: Cervical Cancer among Asian women

Nowadays, there has been a huge concern due to the relationship between race, genetics, and health. US race categories of classification largely traduce human biogenetic difference. It concludes that race’s function is often taken for granted and that ‘rational medicine’ cannot precede a rational approach to addressing the nature of racial disparities, difference and inequality in health and society.

Race is where we categorize different people by their skin color, culture, and their backgrounds. Genetics is where a parent passes certain genes onto their children or offspring. It can explain heredity traits and can be the reason how the risk of certain diseases and disorders being passed on. Health is a where our body is physically, mentally and socially functioning. It can be the way we choose our lifestyle, the activities we do in our daily lives, and also how to control and maintain our mindsets.

Here we can see that from 1999–2011, the rate of women dying from cervical cancer has varied, depending on their race and ethnicity. This graph below shows that in 2011, black women were more likely to die of cervical cancer than any other group, followed by Hispanic, white, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native women.

Asian American women have one of the lowest rates of screening compared to other ethnic/racial groups. Studies explained that Asian American women have lack of knowledge, psychosocial and cultural beliefs, and access barriers, therefore are associated with cervical cancer screening behaviors. In order to reduce the number of Asian American women with cervical cancer, community-based cervical cancer screening programs felt the need to increase awareness and knowledge and promoting recommended screening behaviors.

This topic is very interesting to me because I myself am an Asian American women. I am definitely concerned with cervical cancer, and even though we have the lowest rate of screening comparing to other racial groups. I am still aware that this is a serious matter for all women, including myself and my family, and I would love to learn more in order to prevent and educate myself from this illness.

“Cervical Cancer Rates by Race and Ethnicity.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. August 27, 2014.

One thought on “W2 Reflection: Cervical Cancer among Asian women

  1. Hello Michelle,

    I liked that you chose cervical cancer in Asian women because as the data shows, cervical cancer is not a common condition among the Asian community compared to other ethnicities. That is new information to me because I knew that African-Americans have the highest rates of cervical cancer, but I knew nothing about the rates for Asian women. Therefore I can appreciate your concern about something thats not already a huge issue in your ethnic community. I would agree that cervical cancer is a serious feminine issue and so it is important to raise awareness about the importance of cervical cancer screenings even if the prevalence is not very significant. The issue is that if Asian women are not educated on the condition, or do not feel the need to get screened because its not considered a high-risk community, then women will begin getting cervical cancer and not knowing it.
    Interestingly, something you may not have considered is that the high rates of cervical cancer that we see in African women is the result of the same issue of Asian women, lack of screening. The difference is due to ecological,genetic, and behavorial considerations that occur in African communities. Due to cultural beliefs many African women do not go to see a gynecologists unless an issue escalates, meaning many times these women do not know that they have cervical cancer until its full blown. Also, ecological factors play a role because many African women live in remote villages where healthcare is too far and too expensive to get transportation to. Many African women rely on medicines that they get from their natural surroundings or from a traditional healer. Traditional medicine healers do not usually know what cervical cancer is, or to treat it, or why the women get it. Lack of education about cervical cancer also contributes to the high rates of cervical cancer in African women because many do not know what cervical cancer is, understand why it’s so serious, or how they obtain it. Many African women confuse cervical cancer symptoms with other vaginal conditions. Although cervical cancer can be genetic, many of the cervical cancer cases come from uncontrolled HPV rates in African communities, which is not a problem in most Asian communities. One of the most important ways to control cervical cancer rates in African women is to educate them on the dangers of unprotected sex and the importance of screening.
    Due to the differences in cultures of Asian, African, and other ethnicities, its important that these different areas of anthropology are considered because the findings may vary among different races. Racial categories do make a difference. This will determine how clinical medicine will approach different races. Asian women have low rates of cervical cancer, however you mentioned many of them do not get screened. The same is for African women, but they do have high rates due to other reasons. However in both races, its important for women to get regular cervical screenings.

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