October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! This month, we are supporting all of those who have been affected by breast cancer by highlighting breast cancer awareness. Today, we are specifically bringing the disparities of breast cancer screening and treatment in the United States to the forefront.
Disparities in Breast Cancer Screening
Mammographies can greatly reduce the risk of breast cancer. Breast cancer screening is essential to all races and ethnicities, regardless of their risk, and everyone should have equal access to it. However, this is not the reality we live in. Some women are less likely to get screened than others.
As shown above, rates of screening vary depending on race and ethnicity. Disparities in breast cancer screening arise from a variety of factors: socioeconomic status, race, lack of insurance, cultural differences, and more.
Breast Cancer Morbidity and Mortality
The most prominent disparity in the United States regarding breast cancer are rates between Black and white women. While incidence of breast cancer in white women is higher, the death rate from breast cancer is higher in black women.
There are several possible reasons that explain this disparity in survival rates. Black women did not have easy access to breast cancer screening in the past, so this lag is possibly shown in the illustration. Another factor that may contribute to this disparity is that black women may have less access and more delays to follow-up care compared to white women (Kormen).
There are also disparities between other ethnicities and racial groups. However, Black women face the most disparities in the United States.
What Can I Do?
The best way to address this issue is to get screened! Be mindful of your family history and follow the American Cancer Society Guideline for Breast Cancer Screening:
UHRU has taken on the challenge to help underserved people worldwide. We strive to ensure underserved communities receive the health care and health outcomes that our families enjoy. Learn more about UHRU's Pathway to Health at www.UHRU.org!
American Cancer Society. Breast Cancer Facts and Figures 2019-2020. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society, 2019.
Comparing Breast Cancer Screening Rates Among Different Groups. (2020). Susan G. Kormen. Retrieved October 14, 2020, from https://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/RacialEthnicIssuesinScreening.html