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.
To help address these issues with cervical cancer treatment and diagnosis, the Black Women’s Health Imperative and Hologic’s Project Health Equity 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.