Toward Health Equity in Cervical Cancer Screening

We have talked before about the two different approaches to health equity. One is the “top down” approach, which tries to reduce inequities in all of healthcare. In order to accomplish this, an awful lot of prejudices with deep historical roots need to be eliminated. 

Alternately, we have explored a “bottom-up” approach, where specific sponsors, often pharmaceutical companies, institute specific communications programs in treatment areas of interest to them. Check this out. Here you will see another such program, this one aimed at increasing cervical cancer awareness among women of color. As with the other similar programs we have talked about, available data indicate that minorities are at special risk of cervical cancer, with this as usual being the result of lack of access and follow-up. 

Several things of note in this program. One is that rather than using often seen scare tactics, this program entices women to enjoy “Cerving Confidence,” emphasizing that cervical cancer is preventable. Smart!!!

Additionally, you will note that this program got huge media exposure, and active chatter on the social media as well. All good!!!

Last but not least, the program was evaluated against a control group, with a 10-point “lift” in likelihood of suggesting cervical cancer screening to a friend or relative seen in those exposed to the PSA.    

Bottom Line. Yup. The more I read about these “bottom-up” programs, the more I am impressed with them. True, they aren’t eliminating endemic racism in healthcare. BUT. If they can get immediate and positive health outcomes like this one did, I’m thinking they are still an important avenue toward health equity.

BTW, the timing is clearly right for this lift, since the article reports that during height of the pandemic, screening for cervical cancer fell by 84%. 

Good work!!!

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