: Has breast cancer effected your family?
By Jackie Jones
The American Cancer Society estimated more than 19,000 black women would be diagnosed with breast cancer this year -- the second-most common cancer among black women, surpassed only by lung cancer.
And while the incidence of breast cancer is about 12 percent lower in black women than in white women, with black women, it often strikes at an earlier age, and the mortality rate is higher.
Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, many women schedule their annual mammograms during the month to make it easier to remember. Others make mammogram appointments on or near their birthdays.
The bottom line, though, is black women should be checked early and regularly.
According to the Society’s “Cancer Facts & Figures for African-Americans 2007-2008” booklet, “Factors that contribute to the higher death rates among African-American women include differences in access to and utilization of early detection and treatment, risk factors that are differentially distributed by race or socio-economic status, or biological differences associated with race.”
But it’s not just a matter of access to health care. Even after accounting for income and access to strong health care, “Poorer outcomes among African-American women persist. ... There is also evidence that aggressive tumor characteristics are more common in African-American women than white women.”
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