Study: Higher Breast Cancer Fatality Rate for Black Women

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The pink you see across the basin this month is more than just a pretty color. It’s a reminder that one in every eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.

New alarming research from the National Institute of Health says your race could play a factor of your chances at survival.

African American women are 43% more likely to die from the disease.

Researchers have known that Black women are more likely to die from the disease, but a new study finds the disparity is getting worse.

The American Cancer Society says 40,450 women will die from breast cancer this year, and 3,854 of those women will be of African descent.

Loretta Walker beating the odds with a surprise diagnosis in 2013.

“I did not fit the profile for cancer…I thought,” Walker said.

She explains her mother didn’t have breast cancer, so she thought she was in the clear. She was actually more concerned with getting diabetes.

After visiting the Doctor for something unrelated, he notices abnormalities in her blood work. She later found the lump during a self-exam.

“The type of lump that I have was pretty dominant,” Walker said. “After the exam, we found out it was pretty aggressive.”

The NIH found African American women are more likely to develop triple-negative breast cancer a highly aggressive form.

Walker explains she was already in Stage 2 when she had been diagnosed. She says she would normally have got a mammogram every year, but for four years she didn’t.

“It could’ve been worse and one of those summers I got too busy for a mammogram could have prevented it.”

Something Basin OBGYN Dr. Hampton always tells his patients.

“Take advantage of self exams, call as soon as you notice something abnormal,” Hampton said.

The NIH launching a 12 million dollar study focusing on finding better treatment for black women with breast cancer.

“It’s not just disparities and lack of access,” Hampton said “There’s something going on that makes it a more deadly disease for African American women.”

But for Walker, she turned what could have been tragedy into triumph writing an award-winning book, In This House. With her book, Walker won the 2016 Phyllis Wheatley award for poetry.

“I wrote about the sadness and fear,” Walker said. “I also wrote about the joy I received from my students and support from my family and staff.”

Experts all women get screened for breast cancer every year starting at age 40.

If breast cancer runs in your family, you should get checked sooner. There are options for women who can’t afford them through the Pink the Basin organization.
 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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