Black women are dying more of Cancer but diagnosed less. The disparity has always been a buzz in the medical community but now there are speculations as to the cause of the difference why more Black Women die of cancer than White women.
It was initially believed Black women were not getting mammograms at the rate of their White counterparts and thus detection happened much later in the case of Black women resulting in death. However recent reports from Center for Disease Control reveal this gap has closed as Black women are now trending with their white counterparts on yearly mammography’s, however they are still more likely to die after diagnosis. Another theory was diet, perhaps it was the foods in black cultures that were attributing to the kinds of cancer Black women contracted and what accelerated the disease.
The American Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute have long since linked food to cancer and attributes diet to the cause of 50% of the cancer cases in women. However, it is the American diet of fast food high in saturated fat and animal proteins that are linked to the cause of the higher percentages of cancer in the United States compared to other countries. A study conducted on Japanese women whose diets consist of more grains, and vegetables revealed they have half the incidents of breast cancer than American women. When Japanese women move to United States and adapt to the American fast food diet their numbers of cancer increase to compare to American women. Why then the disparity, of more White women being diagnosed but more Black women are dying. More recently a former president from the American Cancer Society has published a
report saying the reason is more social. Black woman are dying of cancer because after diagnosis most doctors are least likely to assign a complex treatment plan assuming the she will not comply and instead recommend a simpler solution. However the same doctors will recommend a complex curative plan for the white woman with confidence she will follow through. What does this disparity reveal about the medical community? This idea and assumption that Black women will not follow through with complex treatment is not just insensitive but it’s deadly. Black women are dying of cancer more than White women and something needs to be done about it. It is not the physician’s job to assume the steps his or her patient will take and cater the information; however it is the physician’s job to give the best information attributing to the overall health of their patient.
The silver lining is this, a black woman diagnosed at the same age as a white woman receiving the same treatment, results in equal chances of survival. There has been much attention put into cancer awareness and screening as a result detection’s are happening at an earlier stage. Advances in technology and medicine have made cancer treatment more readily and available. The war on cancer cannot be won solely on early detection. The medical community need to pay more attention or equal attention to and funding for after detection, treatment plans and recovery, equally across cultures, in order to eliminate the racial mortality gap. Black women deserve a chance at remission.
“Opinion By Debra Pittman”