Elimination of cervical cancer in U.S. Hispanic populations: Puerto Rico as a case study

Prev Med. 2021 Mar:144:106336. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2020.106336. Epub 2021 Mar 4.


Cervical cancer remains a major burden for women around the world. In 2018, the World Health Organization called for the elimination of cervical cancer worldwide (<4 cases per 100,000 women-years), within the 21st century. In the U.S., despite great progress toward this goal, existing disparities among racial/ethnic groups in cervical cancer raise concerns about whether elimination can be achieved for all women. We describe: 1) disparities in cervical cancer among Hispanics in the U.S. and factors that contribute to their increased risk, 2) prevention and control efforts to increase equity in the elimination of cervical cancer in this population, and 3) cervical cancer control efforts in Puerto Rico (PR), a U.S. territory, as a case study for cervical cancer elimination among a minority and underserved Hispanic population. Hispanics have the highest incidence rates of cervical cancer among all racial/ethnic groups in the U.S. Despite being more likely to complete HPV vaccination series, lower cervical cancer screening and access to treatment may lead to a higher cervical cancer mortality in Hispanics compared to non-Hispanic White women. These disparities are influenced by multiple individual-, sociocultural-, and system-level factors. To achieve the goal of cervical cancer elimination in the U.S., systematic elimination plans that consider the needs of Hispanic populations should be included within the Comprehensive Cancer Control Plans of each state. Because PR has implemented coordinated efforts for the prevention and control of cervical cancer, it represents a notable case study for examining strategies that can lead to cervical cancer elimination among Hispanics.

Keywords: Cancer disparities; Cancer screening; Cervical cancer; HPV vaccination; Hispanic/Latina women; Puerto Rico.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Puerto Rico
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms* / prevention & control
  • White People