Cervical Cancer Rates Higher Among Hispanics - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Cervical Cancer Rates Higher Among Hispanics

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Fox Sports reporter Erin Andrews is used to telling stories on the sideline at NFL football games. This week, she became the story when she revealed in an interview with Sports Illustrated that she was diagnosed with cervical cancer last year.

Her story went viral, which brought much needed exposure to a disease that doesn't get much attention even though January is cervical cancer awareness month.

"Breasts are kind of an easy topic for people to latch onto and cervical doesn't quite make the dinner table topic quite so easily but cervical cancer deserves recognition," said Dr. Vicky Jones, the medical director and oncologist at North Star Lodge Cancer Center in Yakima.

Cervical cancer may not raise a lot of red flags for most women. In fact, the American Cancer Society predicts there will be less than 13,000 invasive cancer cases this year. The survival rate is well over 90% when the disease is caught early, but the risks are higher for Hispanics.

Experts say cervical cancer can be prevented. The biggest risk factor is the HPV virus and every pre-teen girl and boy can avoid getting it.

"The real prevention measure is the HPV vaccination. Otherwise it's screening and monitoring," Dr. Jones explained.

According to the CDC, cancer is the leading cause of death for Hispanics. Latinas get cervical cancer nearly twice as much as white women and are more likely to die from the disease. Dr. Jones believes Hispanics may be more vulnerable due to things like access to care, how the body handles the HPV virus, and culture.

"Frowning on women seeking out routine healthcare and screening and there was a certain amount of dancing of you go only when you have a problem and by the time you have a problem you now have a more advanced condition."