Breast cancer: 4 factors affecting black women more

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Despite increased awareness of breast cancer, studies show that black women continue to die at nearly 40% higher rate than white women from the disease.

Breast cancer is a condition in which the cells of the breast proliferate uncontrollably.

According to studies, black patients are more likely to distrust their provider when they report a health issue to their physician. This mistrust can cause testing and treatment to be delayed.

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Factors that affect breast cancer in black women

There are 4 main factors influencing the higher death rate of black women from breast cancer.

  • Genetics
  • Cultural norms
  • Socioeconomic status and
  • Access to care

According to a recent study published in Cancers, black women may be genetically predisposed to higher incidences of triple-negative breast cancer than white women due to this fast-growing cancer’s resistance to hormonal therapy/surgery.

Although some factors, such as genetics, may put black women at a higher risk of developing breast cancer, this does not mean they must continue to die at a higher rate from the disease. The best defense is early detection.

The cultural norms of a black woman might hinder her from speaking out on time or even getting help. The racism factor also hinders access to care.

Some physicians might listen more to white women than black women or even take the white woman’s claim more seriously than that of a black woman.

Another issue is financial constraint. It restricts regular checkups, and in fact, discourages black women from seeking medical advice.

Patients will not feel comfortable or trust the doctor if racism persists or if they are not taken seriously. When it comes to patient care, doctors should not look at the race or gender but rather treat the patient.

No black woman would want to go to a hospital that looks down on her or treats her poorly even if it is an emergency.

Access to care issues prevent some black women from getting timely breast screenings.

When should you get screened?

  • If a woman has a genetic risk, annual breast screenings should begin at the age of 30, or 10 years before the age of the closest family member diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • If there is a lump, bleeding, or prolonged breast soreness, the patient should be screened right away, regardless of their age.
  • According to studies, yearly screenings are critical for saving lives. Cancerous cells may grow undetected if screenings are skipped.
  • If there is a lump, bleeding, or prolonged breast soreness, the patient should be screened right away, regardless of their age.

If you are unsure about when or where to get a mammogram, especially if you feel a lump, you should consult your primary care physician. Do not be shy or quiet about it. Early detection saves lives.

How to rectify it

Earning patient trust is difficult, but physicians can begin by clearly explaining the condition and recommending a specific treatment.

A system should be created where patients regardless of their colour can get best treatment.

Providers should refer patients to resources that are specific to their condition and treatment options. This fosters trust and understanding, which may increase patients’ willingness to undergo recommended tests and make lifestyle changes.

Black women should be encouraged to get regular mammograms.

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1 Comment
  1. Anonymous says

    regular scan (mammograms) is important

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