Why African American Women Are More Likely to Die From Breast Cancer — Are You Still in Denial?

Posted: June 16, 2014 in Shorts
African American Woman With Breast Cancer

The statistics do not seem to make sense, and because of it, many are still in denial. But the facts are true! While African American women are 10 percent less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer, they are 40 percent more likely to die from it than white women. Why?

Many reasons have been suggested that include genetic differences, inability to get treatment, or not getting the right treatment. But what it all seems to point to is the lack of early detection. True, many African American females who are diagnosed with breast cancer tend to be far more ill than white women who are diagnosed. But this points more to poor health in general and delaying medical diagnosis than it does with genetic differences. They are not getting the care they need.

Could The Research Be Wrong?

Research done by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality compared the mortality rates of African American women with those of white women diagnosed with breast cancer. With patients in the same age group, white women lived about three years longer. It is only when the comparison narrowed down to all the women who were in the same stage of breast cancer and who all received the exact same medical treatment that the disparity dropped to just three months rather than three years.

Obamacare Can Help 

The results point to the urgency of African American women getting not just regular checkups, but mammograms and other tests, particularly when they have discovered a lump in their breast. With Obamacare, health insurers can no longer charge customers for preventive services like mammograms and colonoscopies. This opens the door for more women to take advantage of this very important preventive health care service.

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