Black Women In Alabama Dying Of Cervical Cancer More Than Twice The Rate Of White Women


Contributed by Anaya Ray 

Alarming new rates show black women living in Alabama are dying of cervical cancer at double the rate of white women.

Essence Magazine reports that while 2.7 out of every 100,000 white women have died due to cervical cancer and 5.2 black women out of every 100,000 have passed, a 2.5 difference.

These higher death rates are causing African American women in the state of Alabama to die at the hands of cervical cancer twice of the national average.

A report by Human Rights Watch states that, “cervical cancer deaths should not happen. This cancer is ultimately preventable and highly curable.”

Arguably, it is presumed that Alabama’s Black Belt is still receiving the short-end of the stick when it comes to health care and health resources, and it has been this way for years as historically the state has suffered from racial inequality.

With racial inequality still gleaming over the state causing a twice as likely rate of poverty with Black Alabamians than white, Black women are set back with many barriers within health care.

The state of Alabama’s policies and laws are also ineffective in decreasing the cervical cancer death rate of African American women as Human Rights Watch relays that laws have limited the existing resources that help make health care affordable for low-income black Alabamian women.

“State policies and law, together with recent federal changes, limit the effectiveness of the few state and federal resources that exist to help make reproductive health care services and information accessible to low-income Alabamian women,” stated in the report.

Along with the lack of health care resources within Black Alabamian communities, and state laws making it harder for low-income black women to have access to health care, there’s also a shortage of physicians.

According to Essence, the racial divide within Alabama is historic and while an African American woman may earn as much or more than her fellow white counterpart, she is still subjected to a higher risk of dying at the hands of cervical cancer.

The Human Rights Watch as also discovered that approximately 235 Alabamian woman have been diagnosed with cervical cancer and of those 235, 100 die from it every year.

These, again, alarming rates have steadily increased between 2010 and 2014 where Alabama saw death tolls from the disease increase from 18.2 percent to 34.5 percent, a 16.3 percent increase.

Many Black Alabamian women, despite the constant barriers, still find ways to receive health care and health resources.

Darcy C., in an interview with Human Rights Watch, told them that she pays up to $150 to see her gynecological oncologist who is two-and-a-half hours away from her.

“It’s really hard. And I have to go without a lot to make sure that I have the money…. I get barely $700 per month, so with the bills I have to pay, it doesn’t leave anything for a trip.”

For years, Alabamian black women have had to make sacrifices when choosing between their health and simply other everyday obligations like bills. Despite this being so, hopefully more attention will be pressed upon the ongoing issue to make change within the state of Alabama.


WHUR Contributor

Stay Connected:

Comments Welcome