Black women have a higher rate of breast cancer than White women, but they also have a lower survival rate. Dr. Shaina Rozell explains why this is the case.
MD Newsline: Why is the breast cancer survival rate among black women so low compared to their White counterparts?
Dr. Rozell: I think there are a number of reasons. Primarily it’s also just the biology of the disease, so we know that African-Americans have more triple-negative breast cancers as compared to their counterparts, and so we know that has a more aggressive behavior in biology but among, even kind of outside of that, you have just a more delayed diagnosis, and so we know that many African-Americans, they’re presenting at a later stage, which also affects their survival. There are a number of issues. We know that obesity, as far as the estrogen that is contained in fat, plays a role. And so there are a lot of like, social economic factors that are contributing. Patients are not wanting to get their mammograms, right? And that one’s due to fear of doctors. But too, if you’re working and you have to take care of your children as a single parent that’s not the main priority, so we know that there are a lot of issues, lots of lack of trust, the biology, the lack of education. Those are all kinds of factors that are contributing to kind of delayed diagnoses and also ultimate trends in higher mortality than their White counterparts.