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Black women are chronically failed by the American healthcare system

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Cervivor
Tamika Felder is the founder and chief visionary for the nonprofit Cervivor, a 'global community of patient advocates who inspire and empower those affected by cervical cancer.'

Racial disparities in healthcare include the fact that Black women are one and a half times more likely to die of cervical cancer than white women and it doesn't stop there.

In comparison to other female demographics, Black women have higher rates of hypertension, diabetes, stroke and lupus, among other illnesses.

Dr. Elizabeth Daily, a family medicine doctor based in Overland Park, Kansas, says access to affordable and consistent healthcare is one of the big reasons behind those numbers.

"Many of the patients that I see on a daily basis say that I'm 'the only physician that I've ever seen' in their entire lifetime," Dr. Daily says. "Which implies they don't have insurance for adequate and consistent medical care."

When it comes to cervical cancer, consistency in healthcare can be key. According to the CDC, cervical cancer is almost always attributable to HPV (human papillomavirus) and can usually be prevented through vaccination and screening.

Tamika Felder is the founder of the nonprofit organization Cervivor, which she created after beating cervical cancer in her twenties. She says many women impacted by the disease don't want to share their stories because of the way medical providers often stigmatize HPV, which is a sexually transmitted disease.

"While there are great physicians who understand that it shouldn't be an issue, there are still doctors who are very off-putting when they're talking to their patients. And so, a patient says 'Wait, hold up. That's not something that would happen to me, I don't need this.'"

So, Felder explains, elevating stories of cervical cancer is deeply important.

"You know, we talk about breast cancer. So, we have to talk about below-the-belt cancers like cervical cancer, too. We have to show the faces of people who have cervical cancer."

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
Reginald David is an assistant producer with Up To Date. You can reach him at reginalddavid@kcur.org.
As Up To Date’s associate producer, I construct daily conversations that give our listeners context to the issues of our time. I strive to provide a platform that holds those in power accountable, while also spotlighting the voices of Kansas City’s creatives and visionaries that may otherwise go unheard. Email me at zach@kcur.org.