Black women are chronically failed by the American healthcare system
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."
- Dr. Elizabeth Daily, family medicine doctor at Comprehensive Health Of Planned Parenthood Great Plains in Overland Park, KS
- Tamika Felder, founder/chief visionary at Cervivor