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3 Reasons Black Women Are Less Likely to Get Breast Cancer But More Likely to Die From It

Avatar • Oct 10, 2015

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in American women. It doesn’t discriminate and affects women of all races, ages and economic backgrounds. A recent study revealed that black women are less likely than white women to develop breast cancer but more likely to die from it.

blackwomancancer

According to TheLedger.com, the death rate for black women with breast cancer is 60 percent higher and averages 56.8 deaths per 100,000, while white women average 35.6. Despite the fact that both black and white women regularly get mammograms at age 40 and older, there are a few reasons why the mortality rate differs:

Black women’s breasts are denser

This means detecting cancer in mammograms is more difficult. Denser breasts are also thought to boost the risk of developing cancer.

Triple Negative 

Black women are twice as likely to develop a form of breast cancer called “triple negative”. This particular cancer grows and spreads rapidly and is not supported by hormones such as estrogen, progesterone. This means that hormonal therapy (Tamoxifen) generally used to treat of breast cancer isn’t effective in treating triple negative breast cancer.

Black Women Get Breast Cancer at Earlier Ages

The screening guidelines for black women also come into play when diagnosing breast cancer early. In April 2015, The United States Preventative Services Task Force proposed new guidelines for breast cancer screening, recommending that women start getting mammograms every two years at the age of 50 rather than receiving their first mammogram at the age of 40 and yearly thereafter.

However, black women get hit by breast cancer at a younger age than any other race. Even though mammograms are now recommended every two years when women turn 50, black women still need to get them done at age 40. If your mother had breast cancer at the age of 45, you need to get your mammogram done at age 35 – ten years earlier than your mother’s diagnosis.

What can you do?

Of course breast cancer affects all women. However, with these startling new statistics, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that black women need to be educated about the dangers of waiting to get their first mammogram. Keep in mind that when breast cancer is detected early there are more effective treatment options available. Here is how you can be proactive about your health:

  • Be aggressive with talking to your doctor about making sure you receive your mammogram at age 40
  • If you have women in your family who have had breast cancer, schedule your mammogram before you turn 40.  Linda Goler Blount, President and CEO of the Black Women’s Health Imperative, said that black women as young as 30 can develop breast cancer.
  • Perform self exams at home.
  • Ask your doctor if a 3‑D mammogram is right for you, as it could detect forms of breast cancer that regular mammograms may miss.
  • For more information about breast cancer and how it affects black women, please visit the African American Breast Cancer Alliance’s website.
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    Have you or someone you know been affected by breast cancer? Have you made any lifestyle changes to prevent the disease?

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    Mom_of_IV
    Mom_of_IV
    5 years ago

    the problem is mammograms can actually cause cancer rather than prevent it. Women who receive mammograms annually are exposing their breasts directly to radiation…this presents a cumulative effect of radiation into the breasts.
    What you choose to do with your body is your business but you should look into alternatives that are better for you than exposing you to radiation and are probably causing the problem they are supposed to detect in the first place. Thermography is better for you and your breasts than mammography (which is ineffective), research proves it. You can read about it here:
    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/10/20/breast-cancer-prevention.aspx

    clever_moniker
    5 years ago
    Reply to  Mom_of_IV

    It is precisely this type of misinformation that is killing women. Kale will not kill cancer. Garlic will not shrink your tumor. Surgery, medicine and radiotherapy will. This person is corrolating things that are not related. We find more cancer now because we have ways to… FIND IT. The radiation emitted to find cancers is probably less that you receive tanning on the beach. Radiation exposure that causes cancer has to be cumulative over time and amount. The radiation is not like what’s in a nuclear reactor where spending 10 minutes next to the source will kill you. For these… Read more »

    Mom_of_IV
    Mom_of_IV
    5 years ago
    Reply to  clever_moniker

    How exactly is thermography, or knowledge thereof, killing women? There are plenty of women (millions if you span decades and even into other countries) who have died going the routes you’re espousing. As I stated previously, ‘what you choose to do with you body is your business’. How do you know that radiologically following someone who has the BRCA gene isn’t by itself causing the growth of the cancer? I think it’s great to know there are alternatives out there instead of the age old annually placing your breast on a plate and having radiation (that is consistent with 7 weeks… Read more »

    Naps_93
    Naps_93
    5 years ago

    Please check your facts before posting something so controversial. Science has not proven any link between having had an abortion and an increased risk in cancer. Planned Parenthood, though it has not had the best history with communities of color, has made strides in modern times to improve the healthcare of all women.

    More reading on the Breast Cancer and Abortion Myth:
    http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/moreinformation/is-abortion-linked-to-breast-cancer

    Mom_of_IV
    Mom_of_IV
    5 years ago
    Reply to  Naps_93

    I have and do check facts regularly, especially since this post discusses breast cancer. Here’s one example: http://www.foodconsumer.org/newsite/Non-food/Lifestyle/abortion_breast_cancer_1124120828.html Science has not proven mammograms are effective, in fact, it’s being found that mammograms are being over-utilized in addition to being highly profitable for the businesses involved: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/12/health/study-adds-new-doubts-about-value-of-mammograms.html?_r=0 planned parenthood isn’t the only place a woman can go to receive healthcare…a woman can’t even get a mammogram at planned parenthood even if she wanted one…here’s a list of their services on page 21: http://issuu.com/actionfund/docs/annual_report_final_proof_12.16.14_/0 Probably the best thing we can do for our sistas is to tell them to get vitamin D… Read more »

    OXxo
    OXxo
    5 years ago

    You can’t help yourself but post things that have no scientific basis.

    Oh and where I live you are advised to learn how your breast normally feel and look. Then if they feel or look different go to the doctor asap and don’t take no for an answer.

    Chevanne
    5 years ago

    Biggest revenue from abortions? With what mechanism specifically does an abortion cause cancer?

    My god… The misinformation.

    Mom_of_IV
    Mom_of_IV
    5 years ago
    Reply to  Chevanne

    pardon me, I meant to say “biggest revenue from pregnancy services are from abortions”…I took it off before I noticed your comment.

    Chevanne
    5 years ago

    My god. You know absolutely nothing about actual medical treatment and tumorigenesis. Part of my job is examining tumors. I work with physicians involved in the treatment of these patients. I know people who have died of cancer. Metastasis of cancer cells is not inhibited by exercise, magic crystals or spinach. Stop reading Facebook nonsense abort tumeric “reducing inflammation”. For patients with real, diagnosed conditions, more garlic will just make them smell.

    Misinformation kills. Thermography is nonsense.

    Mom_of_IV
    Mom_of_IV
    5 years ago
    Reply to  Chevanne

    You don’t know what I know. Just because you disagree so rudely does not mean I am presenting misinformation. You might work with tumors and have gotten to know a few patients but I have treated patients with respiratory illnesses and life support (including cancer patients) and even worked at a cancer center teaching women about cancer awareness and have had to see women shrivel into nothingness from being poisoned from chemotherapy and cells fried from radiation…some of the time they die, not from the cancer, but from the treatment that you espouse and seem to believe in so wholeheartedly.… Read more »

    Chevanne
    5 years ago
    Reply to  Mom_of_IV

    “Under the right circumstances, the body can heal itself.” Make no mistake, healthy diets and exercise are a recipe for a healthy life. These are good things. EVERYONE should aspire toward eating whole foods and little processed goods. That’s not my rub. But there is not a susbstitute for medical treatment. I agree that medicine is eager to excise pre-cancerous lesions unnecessarily. As it is, prophylactic mastectomies and prophylactic salpingo-pop here tlmies for BRCA mutations has flooded the industry with money, but we are just starting to understand how these mechanisms work to form cancer cells. The more we treat,… Read more »

    DrSelina
    DrSelina
    5 years ago
    Reply to  Chevanne

    Chevanne, as an OB/Gyn who has done actual lab research on cancer and tumor genesis, thank you. You cannot argue with idiots. Mom_of_IV Is an idiot. How can you work in the medical field and indescriminately regurgitate nonsense. The current mammogram machines emit less radiation now than they ever have. This was done due to the concerns raised by the preventative task force about cumulative radiation risk. This risk is why they changed the age of initiation of mammograms to 50. And This was despite the lack of substantial evidence regarding cumulative radiation with mammogram increasing actual cases of breast… Read more »

    Tracienatural
    Tracienatural
    5 years ago
    Reply to  DrSelina

    Very interesting debate. Without getting into the fray, I thought it would be helpful to provide the links to some recent New York Times articles on the subject: Doubt Is Raised Over Value of Surgery for Breast Lesion at Earliest Stage (08/21/15): http://nyti.ms/1E77Sav Breast Cancer Research Admits Falsifying Data (about black South African Women) (02/2000): http://nyti.ms/1Pqf1CX No need to argue with me. My opinion is to have a healthy lifestyle, with medical intervention only if absolutely necessary. I believe that women (and all people) have to take a look at all the information before them and make educated choices about… Read more »

    clever_moniker
    5 years ago
    Reply to  DrSelina

    BLESS THIS POST. Wow, I have my sanity back. These are not recommendations the medical community makes to get their hands in your pockets. To be honest, I have a hard time figuring out who makes money off the sick. Sure as hell isn’t physicians busting their humps to see patients and battling insurance companies. A pathologist told me about a particular breast lesion that, for some years, was treated by total mastectomy. Once technology and research caught up, they realized these lesions didn’t need such drastic intervention. Hemi-corpectomies for retroperitoneal or pelvic sarcoma used to be an infrequent but steady… Read more »

    Chevanne
    5 years ago
    Reply to  Mom_of_IV
    Leslie
    Leslie
    4 years ago
    Reply to  Mom_of_IV

    Standing ovation!!!! Ma’am you must be a fan of Dr. Sebi.…don’t let these fools make you doubt the truth you are speaking. These brainwashed sheeps are pitiful.

    Mom_of_IV
    Mom_of_IV
    5 years ago
    Reply to  Chevanne

    Also, for you to state that eating healthy, exercising, or herbs don’t help…look at the ‘pot calling the kettle black’…talk about misinformation. Just because you disagree does not mean unconventional methods haven’t helped people the world over.

    Chevanne
    5 years ago
    Reply to  Mom_of_IV

    Didn’t say they don’t help. It’s good to have a healthy diet and exercise but if you have cancer, which is the result of multiple factors, getting medical treatment will help. Not juicing.

    People the world over… Love that “it’s been done all over the world” nonsense. People in other parts of the world, genetically are not susceptible to certain cancers. In concert, their diet plays a role but make no mistake, they get their own share of maladies.

    Chevanne
    5 years ago

    Tell women at greater risk for cancer that mammographies will cause cancer, tell them they can run laps and go on a juice cleanse instead, then allow them to “make their own decision”. Riiiight. You’re the pregnancy crisis center of cancer. YIKES.

    maralondon
    maralondon
    5 years ago

    Personally, I don’t know of any BW who has or had breast cancer or any type of cancer, but I have heard that amongst our women it is there. I know it is more prevalent with WW. I can meet WW and WM with cancer in general all day everyday where I live. I 100% believe we should be teaching that prevention is better than cure I also understand that the medical industry thrive of people being ill as it is a big money making business and that there are other industries who also benefit. It is irresponsible of the… Read more »

    Lana B. Smith
    5 years ago

    this was very informative! I’m definitely going to start checking myself. We should follow each other?

    http://lbsabotage.blogspot.com

    clever_moniker
    5 years ago

    Redacted for duplication.

    clever_moniker
    5 years ago

    The cause is socioeconomic. White women are more likely to receive early screenings and get the appropriate treatment. As a consequence, their more frequent cancers are found earlier and excised. Black women who are of lower socioeconomic status, through lack of opportunity, access and knowledge are often treated once their cancer is more advanced. Add to that, they are more stubborn and do not respond well to more standard treatments. Think carefully about that. The standard treatment is based on the population being served. Black women not getting screenings means even the medicine has not caught up with how to… Read more »

    Mom_of_IV
    Mom_of_IV
    5 years ago
    Reply to  clever_moniker

    planned parenthood isn’t the only place you can go to receive healthcare. Considering abortion raises cancer risk and planned parenthood’s biggest clientele for abortion are black women, it isn’t a surprise that more black women die from breast cancer than anyone else; sistas are too busy getting abortions than healthcare.

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