Let’s improve breast cancer survival rates for Asian and Black women
Most of us can think of someone who has been affected by breast cancer. That’s no surprise when you look at the statistics. One in eight women will be diagnosed within her lifetime.
As a fundraising team from International Community Health Services (ICHS) joins the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure on June 4, an event ICHS has supported annually for more than a decade, we offer some important reminders. Because breast cancer is not an equal opportunity killer.
Whether a person gets cancer is usually determined by genes and lifestyle. Whether a person dies from it is usually tied to social and economic factors – including whether that person has medical insurance, a distrust of doctors, transportation and language barriers, or a lack of health knowledge and information. When cancer is found at a late stage, as it more frequently is in marginalized communities, survival through treatment becomes less likely.
According to Susan G. Komen’s 2015 community profile report, Pacific Islander women have our area’s lowest five-year breast cancer survival rate. Eighteen percent of those diagnosed with invasive breast cancer do not live past five years of being diagnosed. Black women also have a poor survival rate. More than 11% do not live past five years of diagnosis.
Giving minority women greater access to mammograms and treatment significantly increases their chances of survival. For more than a decade, ICHS and its community advocates, educators and partners have worked in concert to help women – through mobile screening services, interpretation and education – gain access to life-changing early screening and detection.
Join ICHS, as we work to improve breast health and breast cancer outcomes for all women. Prompt the women and men in your life to get regular screenings, starting today.
“Early intervention is the best protection,” said Veronica Kim, ICHS’ Breast, Cervical, and Colon Health Program coordinator. Read about Kim’s breast cancer survivor story, and how it has given her new insights in her work with patients, in this article in the International Examiner.