Giving Compass' Take:

· In collaboration with VICE, The Marshall Project tells the story of a female inmate in Texas who struggled with the prison system to receive treatment for her cancer.  

· How can prisons provide better health care and medical treatment for inmates? What needs to be done to address these types of situations? 

· Read more about in the U.S. prison health care system.

The bleeding began in April 2013 and didn’t stop.

When I’d first arrived at Woodman Unit the previous summer, I’d undergone a series of tests during the intake process: blood draws, psychological evaluations and a pelvic exam. After the initial flurry of activity, things moved more slowly. I had another pelvic exam two months later. When my second pap test showed abnormal cells, I was told I would be informed of any next steps—if I needed further treatment. I assumed the Texas Department of Criminal Justice* was responsibly directing my health care. I put my trust in the system to manage my life, a task at which I’d obviously failed. Once I was transferred to the San Saba Unit, my gynecological health slipped my mind, as it had for years.

Until the bleeding started. When it continued for a month, I submitted a medical request form for an appointment with the physician assistant, the closest thing to a doctor on staff at the prison. He did another pelvic exam and said, “I see that the bleeding is caused by a big lesion on your cervix.” I suddenly remembered those abnormal cells nine months earlier.

Read the full article about surviving cancer in prison by Heather Hodges at The Marshall Project.