Black women in Alabama are dying of cervical cancer at more than twice the national average, a trend that appears to be increasing despite the disease being preventable and curable if detected early, a Human Rights Watch report shows.
The group blames the state’s restrictive health insurance policies, lack of physicians, poverty and structural racism for the failure to properly treat the disease. Given current technology, experts said cervical cancer could be virtually eliminated in industrialized nations such as the US.
“We should never, ever see cervical cancer. Not in the United States,” said Dr William M Stevens, a gynecologist in Selma, Alabama. Stevens is the only gynecologist in five of Alabama’s poorest counties which lie in a region sometimes called the “black belt” for its rich soil and large population of African Americans. Stevens described the situation as comparable to under-resourced Kenyan villages, where he also practices.
See “Black women in Alabama dying of preventable cancer at alarming rate” by Jessica Glenza The Guardian website (November 29, 2018)