Racial Disparities & Breast Cancer:
Did you know, African American women are about 40% more likely to die from breast cancer than white women in the US? As an organization that serves all women battling breast cancer regardless of their race, there is so much work to be done to reach the communities most at risk.
While 1 in 8 women on average are diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lifetime, black women are more likely to die because of breast cancer. According to American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among black women with an estimated 34,000 new cases in the year 2019. While many breast cancer cases that are caught early are known for having an average 98% higher survival rate, the average survival rate for black women is only 80%, versus 91% for white women.
Why Are Death Rates Higher in Black Women?
A recent study performed by American Cancer Society found that the lack of private insurance or Medicare could be the cause of higher death rates. However, there are a few other underlying possibilities as to why the death rates for black women are much higher…
According to ACS, in 2017, 21% of blacks were living below the federal poverty level and only 22% of blacks had completed four years of college. When it comes to the correlation between health and socioeconomic status, this is the most critical factor affecting health. People with lower socioeconomic statuses are more likely to engage in behaviors that increase cancer risk such as environmental and community factors, fewer opportunities for physical activity, and less access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
Access to Care
Having regular access to health care helps influence the use of preventative measures. However, with the black population having less access to private insurance or Medicare, this reduces the use of early detection services such as mammograms.
What Can Be Done?
According to the CDC, black women are more likely than white women to get Triple-Negative Breast Cancer, a kind of breast cancer that is often more aggressive and can come back after treatment. At iGoPink, we believe that educating the black community on their potential risk of developing breast cancer is the best approach to closing the gap between the higher death rates from breast cancer in black women.
Many other organizations that focus on breast cancer within the black community are also doing their part to ensure breast screenings are available to all black women along with proper education on how they can be reducing their risk. With proper education and screening services, these efforts could reduce racial disparities in breast cancer.
What iGoPink is Doing:
Prevention and Early Detection
iGoPink has always believed that being proactive and practicing early detection and best prevention methods is key when it comes to reducing one’s risk for developing breast cancer. However, with the racial disparities that the black community sees daily, we have created educational material to educate individuals on how to be proactive with their health by performing self breast exams or learning what healthy foods to eat to reduce their risk. To learn more about Breast Cancer and what you can be doing to reduce your risk visit our free downloads here: https://thebreastcancercharities.org/igopink-downloads/
Programs and Services
Our program services such as our Feeling Beautiful Again program, our iGoPink Support Community and educational program will continue to remain available to all races including the black community. Our mission is to provide hope and resources to all men and women diagnosed or at risk for breast cancer. To learn more about our program services visit our Programs page here: https://thebreastcancercharities.org/about-our-programs/.
Our Survivor Story testimonials share the real voices behind breast cancer. Women from across the US share their journey and hardships as they underwent treatment and transitioned into survivorship. We will strive to feature more stories from black women to give them a voice and highlight the racial disparities they have overcome. To read more survivor stories visit our page here: https://thebreastcancercharities.org/survivor-stories-2/
While we may not able to offer resources for every aspect of your breast cancer journey, we strive to bring together other organizations that can help in areas we might not be able to. Because of this, we’ve compiled a list of patient resources tied specifically to the black community. To see more of these resources, visit our patient resources page here: https://thebreastcancercharities.org/resources/.