10 Women’s Health Is a Community Issue
Why did Mira die?
Here are some common answers to this question:
A doctor may say...
Mira died of
she did not get
Or a teacher...
Mira died because
she didn’t know
she should have a
of the cervix or a
Pap test done.
➤ For more
cancer of the cervix,
see page 377.
Or a health worker...
Mira died because her
husband exposed her to
genital warts and other
STIs. These put her at high
risk for developing cancer
of the cervix.
All these answers are correct. Women who start having
sex at a young age and are exposed to genital warts are at a
greater risk for cancer of the cervix. And if the cancer is found
early (by having a visual inspection of the cervix or a Pap test), it
can almost always be cured.
Yet these answers show a very limited understanding of the
problem. Each of them blames one person—either Mira or
her husband—and goes no further. Mira was at greater risk of
dying of cervical cancer because she was a poor woman, living
in a poor country.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012