Women and Breast Cancer
Nothing speaks more clearly to the shocking breast cancer health disparities than the fact that Black women are less likely than white women to get breast cancer, yet have a higher breast cancer death rate. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Black women and in 2010, the CDC reported that breast cancer was the leading cause of cancer death for Black women aged 45-64 years.
Why this is important for Black women?
The growing breast cancer disparities that exist between Black women and white women are alarming. Although the overall lifetime risk of breast cancer is lower for Black women compared with white women, the death rates are higher. Black women have a lower 5 year survival rate at 77% compared to that of 90% for white women.
What Black women need to know?
Breast cancer tends to appear in Black women at a younger age and in more advanced forms. In fact, Black women are two times more likely to develop triple negative breast cancer, an aggressive form of the disease which has fewer effective treatment options. Triple-negative breast cancers tend to grow and spread more quickly than most other types of breast cancer.
Black women are known to have denser breasts, limiting the sensitivity of a screening mammogram. Mammograms of breasts with higher density are harder to read and interpret than those of less dense breasts. A small cancer can be concealed by dense breast tissue or by the overlap of normal breast structures in heavier women.
Many women with early breast cancer have no symptoms. That is why it is so crucial to get screened before symptoms have a chance to appear. The most common sign of breast cancer is a new lump or mass. A painless, hard mass that has irregular edges is more likely to be cancerous, but breast cancers can be tender, soft, or rounded. For this reason, it is important that you have any new breast mass or lump checked by a health care professional experienced in diagnosing breast diseases.
Other signs may include:
- Swelling of all or part of the breast
- Skin irritation or dimpling
- Pain in the breast or nipple
- Thickening of the nipple or breast
- Discharge other than breast milk
Resource » Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester • 1048 University Avenue • Rochester, NY 14607 • 585-473-8177
For more resources, please visit: http://www.bccr.org/resources/