Health + Wellness

Black Women Are Affected By More Aggressive Subtypes

triple negative breast cancer

Biology plays a role. Imagine being diagnosed at a younger age and a more advanced stage of a condition or disease when finally diagnosed. This is the reality for many Black women. We are affected by more aggressive subtypes.

We(black women) are more likely to be diagnosed at younger ages and at a more advanced stage of the disease/condition when diagnosed. We are disproportionately affected by more aggressive subtypes. For instance, breast cancer(inflammatory and triple-negative breast cancer). Just to give you a quick perspective and a deeper understanding of the severity of it all, we are more likely to die from cardiovascular disease, lupus, stroke, hypertension and several other cancers, than any other racial and ethnic groups. To add, we are twice as likely than white women to develop diabetes over the age of 55. Just take a moment to digest what you’ve just read. The odds are clearly already stacked against us.

Furthermore, various lifestyle factors and overall contributing factors play a major role in how black women are affected by more aggressive subtypes.

Some factors include:

  • Low-income, minority women are associated with poorer health outcomes due to low quality, unhealthy food options(quality grocery stores, restaurants, etc), quality gyms and physical activity areas. This leads to poor eating habits, diabetes and several other health concerns.
  • There is less access to quality medical care and professionals that are beneficial to us. This translates over to poor routine check-ups, reduced access to reproductive services, testing, etc. For instance mammograms, diabetes screening, pap tests, blood and urine tests. So, by the time we are diagnosed, it’s way more aggressive.
  • Discrimination and implicit bias within the healthcare system/environment.

I know what you’re probably thinking…these factors almost seem like barriers, and change will never happen. Well, there’s good news! These various lifestyle factors and overall contributing factors can be changed and improved. We can create change with avocation, communication, vision, and commitment to black women.

RELATED: Triple Negative Breast Cancer: What Black Women Need To Know

Here’s how we can create change for black women in the healthcare environment:

  • Providing cancer screenings/routine screenings in particular locations (underprivileged) will give women an upper hand in early diagnosis. This contributes to better health outcomes.
  • By having/finding concrete representation for us, by us! Black women are underrepresented in clinical trials, which leads to black women not having the same access to treatments and therapies that we could really benefit from. 
  • Having competent healthcare professionals in the field who understand us (culturally) makes all the difference in the care and treatments we may undergo. If you need a culturally sensitive healthcare professional, here’s a list for you to browse. 
  • By addressing the biological differences in not only breast cancer but other cancers and conditions across different ethnic groups. Knowing that black women already have the odds stacked against us, it’s important to effectively address biological differences to find what approaches, treatments and care best suit us.
  • By ensuring access to better care that we can actually utilize. Quality resources and tools to better overall health.
  • By making healthcare more accessible and affordable for black women, especially in low-income/underprivileged communities. There should be access to critical, essential services no matter where you reside.
  • By creating social programs and groups that support advancing health and overall care for Black women.

RELATED: Breast Cancer Disparities Among Black Women

With changed and improved contributing factors, we can most definitely make a difference and shift the whole healthcare environment as it pertains to black women being affected by more aggressive subtypes.

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