Improve Access to Breast Health Education and Mammograms for Women of Color
10 signatures toward our 40,000 Goal
Sponsor: The Breast Cancer Site
Women of color are disproportionately affected by breast cancer, partially due to lack of information and resources.
African Americans and other minority groups are often worse off than Caucasian people when it comes to the incidence and prognosis of chronic diseases, many of which are preventable and treatable. Breast cancer, specifically, is very treatable in its early stages, but many people of color are not taught about their breast health or given proper access to affordable mammograms, so they fail to get screened early.
Compared to Caucasian women, African American women are more likely to develop breast cancer at a younger age,1 more likely to be diagnosed with aggressive triple-negative cancer, more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage, and less likely to have a positive outcome such as survival or short recovery times.2 Black women in the U.S. are also 40% more likely to die from breast cancer than Caucasians.1
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among black women.1 Sometimes uncontrollable factors such as genetics are to blame for the incidence of cancer or the rate of survival within a particular group, but, all too often, more controllable variables are to blame.
Women of color generally have less access to health insurance and high-quality healthcare,3 and they tend to be less informed about breast health topics, such as the importance of self-exams and regular mammograms.4 They’re less likely to get screened early because of these factors and more likely to be diagnosed late, which sometimes leads to a worse prognosis. They’re also less likely to be properly treated for conditions such as insulin resistance, which may promote tumor growth.5
We cannot control all of the things that go into the diagnosis and prognosis of breast cancer for women of color, but we can improve the level of breast health information women of color are given, as well as suggesting screening earlier and providing affordable mammograms.
It’s time to empower women of color to keep themselves healthy and save their own lives. To do this, we must provide more breast health information, mammograms, and other early screening resources to people of color in order to help them catch cancer early and have the best possible outcomes.
- “Know Your Girls,” KnowYourGirls.org; undated.
- “Does Insulin Resistance Contribute to Worse Breast Cancer Prognosis in Black Women?” BreastCancer.org; May 18, 2020.
- “STUDY: People of Color Face Severe Racial Disparities in American Health Care,” Colorlines; December 19, 2019.
- “Know Your Girls: Breast cancer survivor diagnosed at 16 shares her story to help Black women save their own lives,” The Grio; June18, 2019
- “Insulin resistance contributes to racial disparities in breast cancer prognosis in US women,” Breast Cancer Research; May 12, 2020.
Dear State Governors,
For far too long, people of color and other marginalized groups have been suffering from a higher incidence of breast cancer and other diseases—as well as worse prognoses—because of controllable factors that we’ve neglected to take charge of. This cannot continue.
It is time to create a more level playing field by improving the access people of color and those in poverty have to breast health information and resources, as well as providing free or reduced-cost mammograms and other breast screening services.
We won’t stand for this form of discrimination any longer. We demand that each state enact legislation that to improve women of color’s breast health knowledge, provide mammograms, and help women of color and those in poverty get access to the care and resources they need to stay safe and healthy.