Fight For Your Right To Live Longer

Check-ups may catch a fatal disease early

Check-ups may catch a fatal disease early

Turn on the television or radio. Pick up a newspaper or news magazine. Surf the web. Either way, you’re bound to come across a discussion about healthcare coverage in the United States. By now, after the media’s constant barrage of propaganda, most of us are inclined to shake our heads in defeat. Admittedly, the debate has been controlled by specific groups and individuals, primarily those of power, and not necessarily those who are positioned to suffer the most in the event that the current health care system is not overhauled.

As women of color, we tend to prioritize a number of things before our own health, including our families and work. However, when it comes to our health, this Superwoman syndrome hinders us, even hurts us, more than we care to admit. The Kaiser Foundation recently released a new and extremely important study titled “Putting Women’s Health Care Disparities on the Map: Examining Racial and Ethnic Disparities at the State Level.” The study documents the health disparities that exist between women of color and white women.

National average data shows that 27.9 percent of women of color don’t have any health coverage, compared to 12.8 percent of their white counterparts. [1]

Please read more about that study and find out the facts HERE. In her article, writer Nina Jacinto makes many significant observations of the inextricable relationship between gender, race, and healthcare, as well as the importance of taking ethnic and racial differences into consideration when conducting health reports, as opposed to homogenizing the groups. Another article by Jacinto entitled “New Research on Black Women and Breast Cancer” features recent discoveries made about black women’s breast cancer survival rate and offers possible methods of prevention and solutions to this disease. Keep in mind that, as Jacinto wrote, “solutions won’t be effective without fair and equal access to healthcare, breast cancer campaigns that don’t ignore women of color, and better medical and educational resources in low-income communities.”

Although breast cancer is less common among black women than white women, black women are more likely to die from the disease, and to die at a younger age. [2]

Head HERE for the full article. Please share these articles with the women of color in your lives. It may save their’s.

If you need even more incentive to get involved in the health care system debate, online publication The Root has provided us with “10 Reasons African-Americans Should March Washington About Health Care.” The article highlighted women of color’s health in particular a number of times:

5. Breast and cervical cancer. Black women are twice as likely to die from cervical cancer as whites and while breast cancer deaths are dropping for whites, black women continue to die at higher rates than anybody else. Why? No preventive care to catch cancer early enough to treat it.

6. Diabetes. America is in the throes of a diabetes epidemic, but it’s raging like nowhere else among blacks, particularly black women, who have a higher rate than any other group. Worse, both black men and women are much more likely to be hospitalized, disabled and killed by diabetes once they have it.

9. STDs. An unprecedented study last year found 48 percent of all black teenage girls tested had a sexually transmitted infection. Damn near half. Which helps explain the HIV data, since untreated STDs facilitate the spread of HIV. [3]

You’re probably asking yourself, “Okay. So now what? What can I do?” Well, writing to your congressional representative would be a great start. No need for an elaborate, stuffy message. Simply expressing your discontent with the current state of the health care system will go a long way. Why not invite your girlfriends over and host a “Girls Write Out” party? You provide the envelopes and stationary, they provide the snacks. If you’re a student, get together a group of like-minded peers and create a health care reform campus organization. Or try screening a documentary covering the topic. Check out this article for inspiration and advice on how to get those started. It may not feel like much at first, but remember–it takes a nation of millions to hold us back.

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