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The Importance of Breast Health for Black Women

Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed among women in the United States. In 2020, an estimated 276,480 cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 48,530 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer. Although death rates from breast cancer have been declining since 1989, about 41,760 women in the U.S. are expected to die from the disease this year.

The good news is that you can take steps to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. One of the most important things you can do is to get regular breast screenings. However, did you know Black women are more likely to be diagnosed with aggressive and advanced-stage breast cancers? This is why Black women must be proactive about their breast health.

In this article, we’ll discuss why Black women are at a higher risk for developing breast cancer and what you can do to reduce your risk. We’ll also provide resources for finding low-cost or free breast screenings in your community.

Why Are Black Women at Higher Risk for Breast Cancer?

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Several factors contribute to the higher incidence of breast cancer among Black women. These include:

• Increased incidence of triple-negative breast cancer: Triple-negative breast cancer is a type of breast cancer that does not respond to hormone therapy or drugs that target HER2 receptors. This type of breast cancer is more common among Black women than white women. In fact, Black women are 2-3 times more likely to be diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer than white women.

• Lower survival rates: Even when diagnosed at the same stage of disease, Black women are more likely to die from breast cancer than white women. One reason for this disparity is that Black women are more likely to be diagnosed with aggressive forms of the disease. Additionally, Black women tend to have lower incomes and less access to quality healthcare, which can impact their ability to receive timely and effective treatment.

What You Can Do to Reduce Your Risk

There are several things you can do to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer, including:

Maintain a healthy weight

Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing hormone receptor-positive and hormone receptor-negative breast cancers.

Exercise regularly

Getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily can help reduce your risk of developing hormone receptor-positive breast cancer by up to 30%.

Limit alcohol consumption

Drinking alcohol increases your risk of developing hormone receptor-positive and hormone receptor-negative breast cancers. Therefore, if you choose to drink alcohol, limit yourself to no more than one drink per day.

Avoid tobacco use

Smoking cigarettes increases your risk of developing hormone receptor-negative and triple-negative breast cancers. If you smoke cigarettes, quitting is the best way to reduce your risk. Many resources are available to help you quit smoking, including counseling and nicotine replacement therapies such as patches or gum. Talk to your doctor about which option is right for you.

Get regular screenings

Mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early when it’s most treatable. The American Cancer Society recommends that women aged 40 and older have a mammogram every year and that women aged 45 and older have the option to get a mammogram every year or every other year. If you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, you may need to get mammograms at an earlier age or get them more frequently – talk to your doctor about what’s right for you based on your personal health history.”

Conclusion

Breast cancer is a serious problem for Black women in the United States. Thanks mainly to socioeconomic factors such as lower incomes and less access to quality healthcare, Black women tend to be diagnosed with more aggressive forms of the disease and have lower survival rates than white women diagnosed with the disease…This is why it’s so important for Black women 40 years old or older to get regular mammograms – yearly if possible but every other year at a minimum – to detect any signs in the early stages so treatment can begin as soon as possible.

If you’re due for a mammogram or have any questions about your risk factors, don’t hesitate to contact a doctor.

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