CANCER: Black Women’s Health Imperative


Many events in our lives bring us together: a joyous occasion, family reunions, or catching up with a good friend etc. At the same time many unfortunate circumstances also bring people together such as the death of a loved one.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among Black women. ‘Nothing speaks more clearly to the shocking disparities in breast cancer morbidity and mortality than the fact that Black women have a 35 percent higher breast cancer death rate than white women, yet are less likely to get breast cancer.

What is the scope of the problem?

Incidence and Mortality

• Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death for Black women.

• Black women have a 10% lower incidence of breast cancer compared to white women. But within all age categories and all stages of disease, Black women are more likely to die of breast cancer than women of other races.

• Young Black women under age 40 have a greater incidence of breast cancer than white women in the same age category.

• Black women are two times more likely to develop triple- negative breast cancer, an aggressive form of cancer for which there are few effective treatment options.

• The five-year survival rate for Black women is only 77% compared to 90% for white women. While the breast can- cer survival rate has improved overall, the survival rate for Black women has been relatively stagnant during the past two decades.

• An estimated 19,540 Black women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and more than 6000 will die in 2009.”-

Black Women’s Health Imperative