Breast Health for African American Women is seriously important.
Black women have a higher chance of having more aggressive types of breast cancer, called triple-negative cancer, which are difficult to treat.
Breasts, Boobs, Chest, Bosoms, Jugs ~ It doesn’t matter the what you call them. Get checked.
The importance of a screening mammogram is to find early breast cancer before you experience any symptoms. Commonly, when a patient has symptoms of breast cancer, the stage is more advanced.
For average-risk women, screening should begin at the age of 40 as recommended by the American College of Radiology. Finding and treating breast cancer early is very important. Screening mammography and better treatments for breast cancer are the main reasons for decreasing death rates from breast cancer.
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Dying from breast cancer has decreased by 40 percent for all women since the early 1950s. However, for Black/African American women, the overall decrease in death from breast cancer is 23%, even though a similar number of breast cancers affect Black/African American and Caucasian women. Reasons for this include late or no screening mammograms, delayed or no follow-up care, and the types of cancers that typically affect Black/African American women.
Black/African American women have a higher chance of having more aggressive types of breast cancer, called triple-negative cancer, that are difficult to treat. Current medications are not as effective for triple-negative cancer compared to other types of breast cancer. Also, Black/African American women are more likely to have genes that might increase their risk of breast cancer (BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutations).
For these reasons, it is very important the Black/African American women stay on top of their breast health and continue to have yearly screening mammograms after the age of 40. Also, it is important to talk to your primary care physician regarding risk factors that may predispose you to breast cancer by your 30th birthday. Identifying your risk for breast cancer is very important for your breast health.
Important questions to ask you, doctor:
- By the age of 30, start the conversation with your doctor about family history and formal health risk assessment.
- When is the appropriate time for breast screening?
- How do I perform a self-breast exam?
Written by Rifat Wahab, DO, Assistant Professor | Breast Imaging, Department of Radiology University of Cincinnati Medical Center
Breast Health for African American Women photo provided by © [Aaron Amat] /Adobe Stock
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