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Monday, October 18, 2021

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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With an estimated 281,550 new breast cancer cases this year alone, awareness is essential.

President Biden ushered in Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2021 with a proclamation last Thursday.

“My Administration is committed to protecting and building on the ACA [Affordable Care Act] to ensure that more people have access to quality, affordable health care,” said Biden in a post on the White House website. “And to lifting the inequitable health burden that falls on Black women.”

White women are slightly more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than Black women, but Black women are much more likely to die from cancer.

With a 31% mortality rate, Black women are more likely than any other racial or ethnic group to die from breast cancer in the Unites States, according to Breast Cancer Prevention Partners.

Undoubtedly, the disparity is partially due to unequal access to healthcare. Black women without health insurance are much less likely to have routine mammograms or access to life-saving treatments.

Biology may also factor into the disparity, with Black women twice as likely to develop triple-negative breast cancer than white women. Tripe-negative breast cancer is a subtype of breast cancer that is harder to detect and more difficult to treat.  

“Expanding Black women’s participation in research is critical. We have only recently been able to decipher some of the underlying biology to explain the higher incidence of aggressive tumors in Black women and to identify biomarkers that could ultimately inform personalized therapies and improve outcomes for Black women diagnosed with breast cancer,” according to an article from the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Many organizations are dedicated specifically to Black women’s fight against breast cancer through education and providing resources for breast cancer screenings and treatments.

“People don’t understand it [Breast Cancer] doesn’t necessarily need to be in your family,” Reona Berry, President of African American Breast Cancer Alliance told TheHub.News. “Being female is usually the main reason.”

African American Breast Cancer Alliance hosts monthly support group meetings and a survivors retreat.

Many other organizations offer emotional and financial help specifically for Black women with breast cancer, including Carrie’s Touch, Black Women’s Health Imperative and Sisters Network Inc.

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