Friday, November 27, 2020

HEALTHIER YOU: Black women and breast cancer

October 19, 2020 by  
Filed under Health

Black women and breast cancer

BY DR. ANNETTE MAYES, OB/GYN

DR. ANNETTE MAYES

There are many misconceptions about breast cancer and Black women. But here are the facts: the breast cancer mortality rate is about 40% higher among Black women compared to White women. Black women are more likely to be diagnosed with a more advanced-stage breast cancer compared to White women. Tumors in Black patients are also more likely to be larger and to have spread to the axillary (underarm) lymph nodes at the time of diagnosis.

The risk of developing breast cancer increases in all women as they get older, but Black women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at younger ages compared to White women.

In women younger than 40, the population-based incidence rates of breast cancer are higher for Black women compared to White women. About 30% of all newly diagnosed Black breast cancer patients are younger than 50 years old, compared to only 20% of White patients.

One of the most aggressive patterns of breast cancer is a subtype commonly known as triple negative breast cancer (TNBC).

TNBC accounts for around 15% of all breast cancers in the U.S. and Europe. Some of the characteristics of TNC include: difficulty to detect on routine mammograms; tends to cause larger tumors compared to non-TNBC; and more likely to metastasize (spread) to other organs, such as the lungs and the brain, compared to non-TNBC cases.

TNBC is twice as common in Black women when compared to White women, accounting for approximately 30% of cases.

Early detection — catching breast cancer when it’s small and easier to treat — is the most powerful weapon that any woman can use in the fight against breast cancer. Regular mammography screenings and seeing a doctor if you notice anything abnormal help with early detection. Women should start having yearly mammograms at age 40.

These early detection strategies are especially important in Black women, because early detection of aggressive cancers such as TNBC can be lifesaving and reduce the need for chemotherapy.

For more information, call Las Vegas All Women’s Care at (702) 522-9640. Or visit us at 700 Shadow Lane #165 in Las Vegas.

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