(www.BlackDoctor.org) -- October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which means it’s time to educate yourself and the women around you about the importance of early breast cancer detection. This means knowing your risk factors and the importance of scheduling your annual mammogram if you are over 40, or younger if you are at high risk.
African American women also have the highest breast cancer death rate compared to any other racial or ethnic population. In fact, according to the National Cancer Institute, a study showed that African American women were 2.2 times more likely to die from breast cancer, when compared to White women. Younger African American women (under age 40), also have a higher incidence of breast cancer than young White women. The reason for this is not yet completely understood. However, some studies have shown that African American women tend to seek treatment when the disease is already in an advanced stage. A recent study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health and Medicine and the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer also showed that younger African American women are more likely to experience a more aggressive type of breast cancer, when compared to White women. That is why it is so important to make sure that you are getting an annual mammogram, especially for women at increased risk.
A Few Risk Factors:
Family History: Your chance of developing breast cancer might be higher if you have a close relative (mother, sister, grandmother) who had breast cancer. The risk is higher if that relative developed breast cancer before the age of 40.
Early Puberty: If you went through puberty before the age of 12, this might contribute to a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
Not Having Children: Women who have no children, or who had children after the age of 30, have a slightly higher risk of developing breast cancer.
Obesity and High-Fat Diets: In a number of studies, obesity and high-fat diets have shown to increase the risk of breast cancer.
This October, participate in Breast Cancer Awareness Month by calling your doctor and setting up an appointment for a mammogram today. Be sure to spread the word to all your friends and family.
BDO (www.BlackDoctor.org ) is the World’s largest and most comprehensive online health resource specifically targeted to African Americans.