White Women, Black Women, Breast Cancer

Here’s an awful irony:

African-American women have lower incidence-rates of breast cancer than white women and yet are 41% more likely to die from it. They get mammograms as often as white women, yet by the time they get a diagnosis, the cancer has spread to other organs in 45% of African-American women and yet only in 35% of white women.


In fact, reports the New York Times, “Black women fare worse at each phase of management: follow-up of abnormal findings, starting treatment and completing it.” One reason is that black women, more than white women tend to have “types of tumors that have a poorer prognosis.” And yet all of this holds for black women whose health insurance is similar to that of white women. A reason may be that white women have, on the whole, “shorter intervals between diagnosis and start of treatment.”


A Centers for Disease Control study recognized the issues’ complexities yet also concluded that better results can be had with better overall health care availability and delivery in African-American communities.

We must do better.

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