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10/29/2013 05:43 pm ET

Cervical Cancer Vaccines Don't Protect All Ethnicities, Races The Same

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The two cervical cancer vaccines commonly administered to pre-teens and teens in an effort to prevent disease may not be covering all women equally.

According to research presented at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, the human papillomavirus (HPV), what cervical cancer vaccines are designed to protect against, may have strains specific to women based on ethnicity and race.

“It looks like we have different strains by race,” Cathrine Hoyo, an associate professor in Duke University’s obstetrics and gynecology department, told NBC News in a telephone interview. “African-American women are about 20 percent more likely to develop cervical cancer and almost twice as likely to die from the disease compared with non-Hispanic white women.”

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