Medical Minute With Ms. Montgomery

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the United States.  However it is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among African American women. Black women are dying at an alarmingly increased rate compared to all other racial and ethnic groups.  We are 40% more likely to die of breast cancer than white women.  Breast cancers diagnosed in Black women are associated with poor prognosis due to a variety of factors.  Besides being diagnosed with more aggressive forms of cancer, fewer social and economic resources are contributing factors also.

So, what can we do?

We can improve disparities with regular preventative follow-ups, improved access to treatment options, and high-quality care. This will lead to diagnosis at the earliest stage when the tumor is more likely to be small and localized

Early detection is KEY! Know your BREASTS!!

Discuss your family history with your healthcare provider to determine your risk

Do regular self-exams monthly at the same time each month

The best time to do a monthly self-breast exam is about 3 to 5 days after your period starts. Your breasts are not as tender or lumpy at this time in your monthly cycle.

See your provider for a clinical breast exam annually.

More black women experience follow-up times of over 60 days (20%) compared with Caucasian women (12%) after a mammogram that is not normal. Waiting longer for follow-up care may lead to cancers that spread beyond the breast and are harder to treat.

Get regular mammograms

Breast density is a risk factor for Black women developing breast cancer

Insist on digital or 3D mammography, advances in healthcare technology can be vital to detection

After cancer is found, treatment should start as soon as possible.

Only 69% of black women start treatment within 30 days (compared with 83% of white women)

Education is the first step in eliminating healthcare disparities in the African American community.

Sources: CDC, Medline Plus, Black Women’s Health Imperative

4 Comments Add yours

  1. David Adelekan says:

    Very informative reactive measures. In addition, pls ask her if she knows the reason why why black women are more likely to get breast cancer than women of other races. Also, how can black women avoid it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We will do a follow up soon on that and other diseases that affect minority women more than others. Stay Tuned.


  2. Kunbi says:

    These simple stats are necessary and need more light shed on them. I would like to know if there is an age group that is more at risk within minorities? Considering mammograms are recommended for women starting in their 40’s, I would love to know what are the ways younger women can take their breast health into account. Younger women (not sure if its just blacks or women in general) can apparently tend to have lumpy breasts so I def think its best to always follow up with a professional to confidently discern between normal/abnormal lumps. And could the lag in follow up be mainly attributed to economic factors or lack of access to proper/affordable healthcare or just plain ole carelessness/ignorance. Granted there is Google for these things but figured if there’s gonna be a part 2 to this, these may be helpful questions 😊 thanks Lala

    Liked by 1 person

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