EP08: Breast Cancer in the Black Community

Breast cancer can touch anyone including young women, men, non-binary,  people and transgender people.  In particular, Black women are more likely to develop more aggressive, more advanced-stage breast cancer that is diagnosed at a young age than the general population. 

While there are things that we can do to lower our risk of ever getting breast cancer or to catch this disease early, cancers have been connected to environmental pollutants that can negatively affect our bodies. Many who are affected by breast cancer are calling for environmental justice efforts that may protect people from exposure to cancer-causing chemicals found in the air, water or store-bought products.

To empower yourself with steps you can take for your individual health, the CDC has information regarding symptoms, risk factors, screening and treatment. For instance, tobacco and alcohol use are both listed as carcinogenic products that increase your chance of various cancers and should be avoided.

The Breast Cancer Action Network provides information about becoming an advocate for cancer prevention efforts. Since poverty and segregation policies relegate many Black people to homes and jobs that expose us to more pollutants, it is important for us to fight against the environmental racism that have allowed companies to dump dangerous substances into our communities.

Here’s how racism shows up in breast cancer survival rates:

Even though Black people don’t get breast cancer as often as white people, we are more likely to die from breast cancer.  The medical system doesn’t always treat us as well as they should and that is why it’s so important to advocate for your own best interest throughout your breast cancer journey. This may improve health outcomes.  

It may be hard to separate myths from facts when it comes to this disease. There is a lot of misinformation out there and it’s important to make sure that you know the facts about breast cancer. While your friends and family members have the best intentions to give you information to protect you, not everything you hear is true. Here, we tackle some common myths about breast cancer.

Check out campaigns like Bring Your Brave that provides breast cancer information for women under 45. They’ve got stories about women who are advocating for themselves, understanding their options and are facing cancer with courage and strength.