October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month when there is a focused effort to promote screening and prevention of a disease that affects one in eight women in the United States every year and 2.3 million women worldwide. Thanks to improved therapies and early detection, breast cancer is increasingly treatable, but black women are disproportionately impacted by the disease. TOUCH, the Black Breast Cancer Alliance (BBCA), wants to change this! But first, know the facts:
· Black women are 41% more likely to die of breast cancer than white women.
· Black women with breast cancer have a 71% higher relative risk of death compared to white women.
· Black women have a 31% breast cancer mortality rate – the highest of any U.S. racial
or ethnic group.
· Black women are diagnosed with de novo metastatic breast cancer at a 58% higher
rate than white women.
· Black breast cancer patients still have the lowest 5-year survival rate of any race or
ethnicity, and the overall 5-year relative survival rates are 81% for black women vs 91%
for white women.
· Black women are just as likely to have hereditary breast cancer mutations as white
women, yet their participation in genetic counseling, and testing is substantially lower.
· Black women have denser breasts than white women. Having dense breasts increases
your risk of developing breast cancer up to six-fold and regular mammograms struggle
to pick up breast cancer in dense breasts.
· Black breast cancer survivors have a 39% higher risk of breast cancer recurrence.
So, what’s next? Early detection is important! By age 40, women should be talking to their doctor about when to start mammogram screenings. A woman’s incidence of breast cancer increases with age, and the risk doubles when there is a first-degree relative (mother/sister/daughter) with breast cancer. And, while being a woman is the #1 risk factor, men can get breast cancer, too!
In order to eradicate black breast cancer, TOUCH, the BBCA has taken on the mission of getting black women into clinical trials. More participation by black women in clinical trials means more research and development of treatments and medications that are responsive to the medical needs of black women! Says Ricki Fairley, CEO of TOUCH, the BCCA:
"Because the vast majority of people who participate in clinical trials are white, there
simply is not enough research about how breast cancer treatments work for Black
women, or how we experience breast cancer differently. We deserve better. When We
Tri(al) is a call to action for our fierce, resilient community of Black women."