LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Breast cancer kills tens of thousands of women in this country every year while Black and white women get breast cancer at nearly the same rates, women of color are 40% more likely to die from the disease.
Black women are also more likely to be diagnosed before age 40 and that’s when annual screenings typically start.
Doctor Joana Folayan is an OB-GYN in Las Vegas and a breast cancer survivor. She urges her patients to get their annual screenings but also to know their bodies so they can discover changes, even the small ones.
“I think that women should definitely concentrate on doing their breast self-exams. I think they should do it every month, a week after their menses.”
Breast cancer is often found later which means it’s often more advanced. Doctor Vivian Bea is an oncologist and warns younger African-American women, in particular, are more likely to present with the triple-negative subtype of the disease, which is both more aggressive and more deadly.
“While Black women are slightly less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer compared to their white counterparts. They’re 40% more likely to die,” she said.
There are environmental concerns too. Beauty products often marketed to Black women contain some of the most worrisome ingredients including skin lighteners and hair relaxers.