- 2012elections - 9/11 Special Coverage - aca - africanamericanalzheimers - aids - Alabama News Network - american - Awards & Expo - bees - bilingual - border - californiaeducation - Caribbean - cir - citizenship - climatechange - collgeinmiami - community - democrats - ecotourism - Elders - Election 2012 - elections2012 - escuelas - Ethnic Media in the News - Ethnicities - Events - Eye on Egypt - Fellowships - food - Foreclosures - Growing Up Poor in the Bay Area - Health Care Reform - healthyhungerfreekids - howtodie - humiliating - immigrants - Inside the Shadow Economy - kimjongun - Latin America - Law & Justice - Living - Media - memphismediaroundtable - Multimedia - NAM en Espaol - Politics & Governance - Religion - Richmond Pulse - Science & Technology - Sports - The Movement to Expand Health Care Access - Video - Voter Suppression - War & Conflict - 攔截盤查政策 - Top Stories - Immigration - Health - Economy - Education - Environment - Ethnic Media Headlines - International Affairs - NAM en Español - Occupy Protests - Youth Culture - Collaborative Reporting

Black Activists Blast Breast Cancer Guidelines

Black America Web , News Report, Jackie Jones Posted: Nov 19, 2009

The American Cancer Society has reported that racial and ethnic minorities still tend to receive lower-quality health care than whites even when insurance status, income, age and severity of conditions are comparable and are still more likely to be diagnosed with cancer at a later stage when treatment is less successful.

A study from the Boston School of Medicine found black women were three times more likely to develop triple negative cancer, a particularly virulent strain of breast cancer that is resistant to traditional treatment, regardless of the age or size of the woman.

Over the past year, BlackAmericaWeb.com and "The Tom Joyner Morning Show" have been actively involved in the effort to enroll more black women in the Sister Study, the only long-term study in the United States and Puerto Rico of women ages 35 to 74 who've never had breast cancer but whose sisters have had the disease.

Researchers believe the Sister Study will better determine why women get breast cancer, especially reasons that concern environment and genes.

Last December, black congressional leaders met in the U.S. Virgin Islands for the second annual National Conference on Health Disparities, sponsored by The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation to address a range of critical health care issues that impact African-Americans. That included evidence that the length of time between an abnormal screening mammogram and the follow-up diagnostic test to determine whether a woman has breast cancer is more than twice as long in Asian-American, black, and Hispanic women as in white women.

Now comes word a government task force has found annual breast cancer screenings for women under 50 are not necessary and that they dont necessarily find incidences of cancer early enough to affect mortality rates from the disease. Also, the task force said breast self-exams have no benefit, and women shouldn't be taught to do them.

All this comes in direct contradiction of the advice of the American Cancer Society, which for the past two decades has recommended women get annual mammograms beginning at age 40.

So what are black women to make of all this?

On Jezebel.com, Dr. Constance Lehman, chair of the American College of Radiology, noted increasing numbers of younger women and black American women were developing more aggressive cancers and said mammograms were necessary for early detection.

Discovering the cancer at an early stage can "put them in a group of women where they more likely can have their breasts conserved. Without that early detection, they are much more likely to be told they need the breast removed."

I have difficulty with the methodology that they use, Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, told CNN Tuesday in an interview about the recommendations. And I think women deserve far better than what weve given them.

Im pissed, pissed, pissed, pissed, journalist Rene Syler said in her video blog, Good Enough Mother.

In October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Syler appeared in a TV One special, Breast Cancer Examined: An African-American Perspective, to discuss her preemptive double mastectomy because of her high genetic risk of breast cancer. Both her parents had breast cancer, and Syler was found to have a pre-cancerous condition.

So Im a little upset that a government panel, made of very smart people, would take a disease like this and boil it down to statistics, Syler said Tuesday in her vlog.

She said she understood the anxiety women feel if they get a false-positive mammography result, but she also understood that it takes numerous screenings to find the women who do actually have breast cancer.

If it was their aunt, grandmother or niece or daughter or granddaughter, theyd want it, she said.

And she criticized the task forces recommendation to skip self-breast exams.

Tell that to all the women who found their own lumps," she said. "What is that?

Syler, who is a spokeswoman for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a grassroots organization that raises money for breast cancer research, also questioned the recommendation that early screenings should be limited to women who are at high risk because of their family history.

I think my issue with this is that we know from reams and reams of evidence that the two biggest risk factors is being a woman and getting older. Only 10 to 15 percent of the women who get breast cancer have a family history, Syler said. How can they, in good conscience, say that when they know women get cancer who have no family history?

Syler said the new guidelines were divisive and confusing. She urged women to talk with their doctors to determine the best way to proceed.

Related Articles:

Five Years is a Lifetime to Wait for Affordable Health Care

Latinos Face Cancer Scourge

A Doctors Word--Tips to Escape the Smoking Trap

Page 1 of 1




Just Posted

NAM Coverage