Fans and former cast mates have taken to Twitter to mourn the loss of actress Yvette Wilson who played the role of Andell Wilkerson on UPN's "Moesha" and its spinoff, "The Parkers."
Wilson, 48, reportedly lost her battle with cervical cancer and kidney disease on Thursday, following a desperate plea last month for funds to cover her mounting medical bills.
Wilson's co-star Shar Jackson announced the news via Twitter last night, following requests for prayers for her "sister and best friend."
According to 2008 figures by the CDC, African-American women are more likely to die from cervical cancer than any other group, despite coming in second, to Hispanic women, in overall incidence.
In April, a study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research conference in Chicago offered a possible explanation for this disparity -- that black women have more trouble clearing HPV, the virus that causes the disease.
The findings, researchers say, underscore the importance of the HPV vaccine for black women, as well as adhering to Pap screening guidelines.
Because cervical cancer grows so slowly, regular Pap smears -- which examine cells scraped from the cervix -- can find signs early enough to treat before a tumor even forms, making the cancer one of the most successfully treatable cancers.
The American Cancer Society also recommends talking to your doctor if you have any of the following cervical cancer risk factors:
- You have chlamydia, a common sexually transmitted disease.
- You eat few fruits and vegetables.
- You are overweight.
- You take oral contraceptives (birth control pills).
- You have had multiple full-term pregnancies.
- Your mother or sister had cervical cancer.
- Your mother took a drug called diethylstilbestrol (DES) while pregnant with you.
According to the website set up to aid Wilson with her cancer treatment expenses, she had raised more than $13,000 to date.