Racial disparities in cervical cancer are real and alarming. Take this startling statistic as an example: Black women are twice as likely to die from cervical cancer than white women — and cervical cancer is considered a preventable disease.
According to Jessica A. Shepherd, MD, MBA, a board-certified ob-gyn who is working to raise awareness about cervical cancer, the reasoning behind the data doesn’t have to do with anything biological or genetic, yet instead a lack of access and education.
“Unconscious bias and discrimination play a large role in in-equal access, less accurate diagnoses, decreased treatment options, less pain management and poor clinical outcomes,” Dr. Shepherd says.
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To help address these issues with cervical cancer treatment and diagnosis, the Black Women’s Health Imperative and Hologic’s Project Health Equality have teamed up with Ciara and Dr. Shepherd to launch the Cerving Confidence campaign. This public health campaign featuring Ciara is meant to help encourage Black women to visit their doctors for HPV and Pap tests — two key tools for preventing cervical cancer and also treating it before it’s a larger concern.
“Testing can identify abnormalities before they become cervical cancer and can prevent death from the disease,” Dr. Shepherd explains. “For women ages 21-29, regular Pap testing is recommended. Starting at age 30, we add the HPV test, so that you get what’s called Pap+HPV together, which is the preferred standard for this age group and detects almost all cervical cancers — offering the benefits of two tests with just one sample.”
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SOURCE: POPSUGAR, Victoria Moorhouse