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Cervical cancer kills Black women at a disproportionately higher rate than whites

by Alana Wise | npr

Four years ago, when Kimberly Williams was a 42-year-old mother of two, she received a life-changing cancer diagnosis.

“My doctor called and said that he wanted to see me in his office, so I was very nervous,” Williams recalls. “When I went in, he said, ‘Kiddo, you have cancer. But we’re gonna fight it,’ so the feeling I had was being very overwhelmed… I was fearful. I was wondering, ‘Oh my God, how long has this been living inside of my body? Am I going to die? Who’s going to raise my children?'”

At the time, Williams had never known anyone else who had experienced cervical cancer, and despite having had an abnormal pap smear in her 20’s, she spent the next two decades unaware that she was potentially carrying a strain of the human papillomavirus (HPV) — a virus responsible for more than 95% of cervical cancer cases.

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