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Black Women and Breast Cancer: How to Assert in Medical Prejudice




This story is part of Survivor guide, A series that navigates the effects of breast cancer through beauty and self-care.

The distrust that many blacks feel about the medical community is deeply rooted in the implicit prejudice we face.Historically, the medical industry In many cases Properly diagnosed, believed, and failed Treat black women, And this has caused many of us to hesitate to seek care until our symptoms are disastrous. Examples of racial disparities in treatment can be found in a variety of conditions, but breast cancer is one example in which differences between black and white women, such as rate of diagnosis and quality of treatment, are particularly noticeable.

According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) 2017The proportion of new cases of breast cancer was similar in white and black women, but the mortality rate from breast cancer in black women was higher than in white women.In addition, NCI statistics from 2020 Surveillance, epidemiology, and end results The (SEER) program provided a four-year breast cancer mortality analysis from 2014 to 2018, showing similar numbers for mortality. According to SEER data, white women died at a rate of about 19 per 100,000, while black women died at a rate of about 27 per 100,000.

Cynthia Jones, The Chair of the Department of Surgery at the Newton Medical Center in New Jersey specializes in breast, laparoscopic, and general surgery with over 23 years of experience in breast cancer treatment. She explains that many other factors are involved in a patient’s prognosis, such as access to preventive services, doctor prejudice, and cancer characteristics.

Clinical research will help, but it’s not that simple

More clinical studies will help to successfully treat breast cancer in black women, according to Jones, but perhaps for good reason lack of participation. “Large, positive and managed breast cancer studies (studies that help determine best practices) have few black participants. There are several reasons for this, but the results of the women who participated show that We need to estimate what is the best treatment for black women, “she explains. NCI is trying to improve this. 2016, As reported Along Allure At that time, NCI The biggest study in history Analysis of Breast Cancer Genetics in Black Women. Instead of recruiting new participants, the researchers aggregated and analyzed data, resources, and biological samples from 18 previous studies to plan a study population of 20,000 black women with breast cancer.

Damali Martin, Program Director of NCI’s Cancer Control and Population Sciences Division, has been updated Allure About the status of the four-year study: “This large study of breast cancer genetics in African women is among members of the African-American Breast Cancer Consortium, African-American Breast Cancer Epidemiology and Risk. Based on many years of scientific cooperation, the (Amber) Consortium, and the NCI Cohort Consortium, not only significantly improve the understanding of the genetics and biology of breast cancer in African women, but also breast cancer in high-risk women. Identify potential genetic targets for prevention or new breast cancer treatment. ”According to Martin, the study was the last year of funding and researchers will share results within the next 6-12 months. I expect that.


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