Different communities are disproportionately impacted by breast cancer and other diseases in different ways. These issues need to be addressed and talked about in order to incite change. While breast cancer is more common in white women the mortality rate for black women is higher.
WHAT WE KNOW
We have been thinking a lot of about these discrepancies, how we can raise awareness about them, and the ways we can ultimately change them. The higher mortality rate for black women diagnosed with breast cancer is not that of coincidence but instead rooted from a long history of injustice and inequality. Black women are not inherently less likely to survive breast cancer, it is instead lack of access healthcare, screenings, and education that keep black women in America at a higher mortality rate than their white counterparts.
ACCORDING TO THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY
African American women have the highest mortality rate from breast cancer as they tend to be diagnosed later and with more aggressive cancers. Breast cancer incidence rates are higher among black women than white women for women under age 45. The 5-year relative survival rate is 83% for black women compared to 92% for white women.
ACCORDING TO THE CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION (CDC)
Breast cancer death rates are 40% higher among black women than white women. Black women are more likely than white women to get triple-negative breast cancer.
RESOURCES & MORE INFORMATION
The African American Breast Cancer Alliance, Inc (AABCA) is dedicated to building and sharing awareness, connections, education, resources and support for African American/Black women, men, families and communities affected by breast cancer. Back in 2016, to find out what young black woman can do, we spoke with Reona Berry, a breast cancer survivor and executive director, and co-founder of the AABCA.
BE YOUR OWN HEALTH ADVOCATE
“Breast cancer awareness, detection, treatment, and understanding is crucial to reduce the breast cancer incidences and high mortality rates that African Americans experience. We have so much more access to information, detection services, and medical treatments to help us have better outcomes and live longer lives after a cancer diagnosis.”
- Reona Berry
While the discrepancies in breast cancer for black women are part of a broken system, knowledge of ways to lower your risk and be your own health advocate are crucial. All of the ways that we talk to everyone about lowering their risk like eating well, exercising, meditating, avoiding toxic body care and household products. Checking yourself monthly and knowing what is “normal” for your body is so vital for all women. We all need to understand the many ways to lower our risk, understand our bodies, and advocate for ourselves, and it is doubly important for those that these systems are failing.
For more information about the AABCA, visit aabainc.org.