Alabama’s black women are disproportionately dying of cervical cancer

In rural western Alabama, black women die disproportionately from cervical cancer — one of the most preventable and treatable cancers. However, this should not be the case.

I recently started working as a community-based advocate in partnership with the Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative for Economic and Social Justice (SRBWI) and Human Rights Watch, two organizations working to address the cervical cancer disparity of which black women in the rural South have been affected since 2018. What has struck me most since joining the SRBWI/Human Rights Watch team is the fact that cervical cancer is highly preventable and treatable, yet so many women are dying — especially black women — still have the disease.

While highly preventable, black women living in rural communities like mine do not always have access to critical, life-saving information and services such as HPV vaccine and cervical cancer screening and follow-up, putting us at great risk of developing the disease and to die from.