Twenty years ago, I sat on my mother’s sofa holding back tears as she told my sisters and I about my Nana’s recent diagnosis…. breast cancer. See at an early age breast cancer wasn’t something I didnt know about. I actually knew too much about this cruel disease. I’d lost an aunt to it, my friend mother was a survivor and now my Nana! There isn’t a lot I remember about that time, besides the gut wrenching fear that I could lose my grandmother and her reminding me that it was our duty to make sure she was well kept. “Make sure when you visit the hospital you braid my hair and keep my brows tweezed” 🙂 My Nana is a survivor and at 80+ years old she is still the strongest woman I know.
In honor of breast cancer awareness month and the need for a cure (WE NEED A CURE!!!) I am sharing some facts about Black women and breast cancer. Understanding them is the first step to lowering the diagnosis rate in our community.
Breast Cancer facts*:
- Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Black women.
- Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer for Black women, after lung cancer.
- Black women have the highest breast cancer death rates than women of other racial and ethnic groups.
- Young Black women under age 40 have a greater incidence of breast cancer than white women of the same age.
- Black women are two times more likely to develop triple-negative breast cancer, an aggressive form of cancer for which there are few effective treatment options.
- Regardless of the stage when breast cancer is diagnosed, Black women have the worse five-year survival rate than white women: 77 percent vs. 90 percent.
- Black women experience delays in testing following abnormal screening results and in receiving care after receiving breast cancer diagnosis.
- Breast density is one of the strongest risk factors for Black women in developing breast cancer.
- Black women are more likely to have dense breasts, which makes detecting changes and tumors more difficult through regular mammography.
- Many Black women discover breast masses during routine breast self-examination. When a woman is more familiar with her breast, she can detect subtle changes or abnormalities easier.
*Breast Cancer facts courtesy of Moving Beyond Pink.