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Black Women and Cancer Disparities

MIAMI, Fla. (WGEM) -- Doctors say African American women are at higher risks for contracting and dying of certain gynecological cancers.

One patient is telling her story so other women will prioritize regular check-ups.

Rachel Fleeton is a doting dog mom. Her yorkies get top-notch treats and care. Something she had to learn to do for herself after a devastating cervical cancer diagnosis, after having gone several years without check-ups.

“Terrifying, life-changing, very scary,” shared Fleeton.

Research shows African American women are more at risk for certain gynecological cancers and more likely to die from them.

“What we’ve learned is not only do we need to do a better job in identifying these cancers earlier on across all disparities, but particularly in black women, but we need to actually treat them more aggressively sometimes and treat them differently,” explained Brian Slomovitz, MD, a gynecological oncologist with Broward Health.

Doctors say black women are more likely to be diagnosed with uterine, cervical, endometrial, and ovarian cancers.

“We have to stress regular check-ups, we have to stress routine screening, we have to stress to trust the medical system,” continued Dr. Slomovitz.

Now committed to her own care, Fleeton’s prognosis is promising.

“It could have been worse, however, I was able to catch it in time to where I was able to be treated in a timely fashion and, thank God, I’m awesome now,” smiled Fleeton.

After several rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, the 41-year-old is now cancer free.

Routine screenings can help decrease a patient’s cancer by 50 percent.

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Don Dwyer

Don Dwyer is a Morning Anchor/Reporter at WGEM.

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