Introduction Breast cancer is an epidemic in the United States. And even though more women are surviving and living longer with the disease, it’s still one of the most deadly forms of cancer for women. In fact, breast cancer accounted for 27% of all new cancers in women in 2018 according to The American Cancer Society (ACS). While there are many genetic factors that influence your risk of developing breast cancer, there are also lifestyle choices you can make as a woman—and as a Black Woman—that may lower your chances of developing this disease.
Early detection is KEY!
Early detection is key! Early detection saves lives. In fact, the American Cancer Society estimates that if all women over 40 got mammograms every year, there would be 75% fewer deaths from breast cancer in this age group. For black women with a family history of breast cancer, early detection is even more crucial as they are more likely to develop aggressive forms of the disease than white women. Early detection can mean the difference between life and death due to various factors including genetics and lifestyle choices (such as diet). For example: Black women who regularly exercise tend to have longer life expectancy rates than those who don’t exercise at all or only occasionally do so by exercising regularly in addition to other healthy habits such as eating right and getting enough sleep at night (which helps reduce stress levels).
Know your risk. Genetics, age, family history all play a part in breast cancer. If you’re not sure if you have a greater risk or less than others, ask your doctor.
Know your risk. Genetics, age and family history all play a part in breast cancer. If you’re not sure if you have a greater risk or less than others, ask your doctor.
Black Women and Breast Cancer Statistics
As a black woman who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, you may have an increased risk of developing breast cancer. In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, it’s estimated that more than 200,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women each year in the United States alone. But there are two things about this statistic that stand out for me: firstly, it doesn’t include pre-invasive disease (Ductal Carcinoma In Situ or DCIS). When these cases are included— as they should be—the number rises to over 250,000 new diagnoses annually. Secondly and most importantly: These numbers don’t include women living outside of the United States; if they did then we’d see even higher rates because African American women have much higher rates of breast cancer than white women globally! So what’s going on here?
Exercise has been proven to help
Exercise is great for keeping your heart healthy, but it can also help with other risk factors. Exercise helps you lose weight and keep it off. You may have heard that being overweight is a risk factor, but did you know that even small amounts of excess weight can impact the outcome of cancer treatment? In fact, in one study, women who gained 15 pounds since their diagnosis had a 60% higher chance of dying from breast cancer than those who had maintained a stable weight throughout treatment. Exercise improves insulin sensitivity and decreases inflammation (two things that are linked to diabetes). This means that if you do develop diabetes, exercise will be more likely to help keep your blood sugar levels under control than non-exercisers would be under similar circumstances. Exercise lowers cholesterol levels by increasing HDL (the “good” kind). Exercise also increases insulin sensitivity which in turn lowers triglycerides (another type of fat found in the blood stream). Lowering these fats reduces your risk for cardiovascular disease as well as some cancers such as breast and prostate cancer.
About one in eight U.S. women (just under 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, and it’s the second leading cause of death in women. Nearly 20% of breast cancer cases among U.S. women occur in black women— they are more than 60% more likely than white women to be diagnosed with breast cancer at an earlier age, and they have a higher risk of dying from their disease. As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October), we’re highlighting some information about how exercise can help reduce your risk for breast cancer, as well as steps you can take if you are currently living with this disease.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month should be much more than a hashtag on October 31st! Awareness for women should be a daily experience and it is especially necessary when you have a close family member who has faced this disease!
Breast cancer is not just a women’s disease. It’s a family disease. When it comes to breast cancer awareness and prevention, there are many things you can do to help yourself and those around you. For example, Breast Cancer Awareness Month should be much more than a hashtag on October 31st! Awareness for women should be a daily experience and it is especially necessary when you have a close family member who has faced this disease! The American Cancer Society recommends three ways that everyone can reduce their risk of getting breast cancer: early detection screening; making healthy lifestyle choices; and being aware of the signs and symptoms at home or work that could indicate breast cancer. Additionally, it’s important to know how hereditary factors can increase your risk for developing breast cancer. While some of these factors cannot be changed (such as age), others like having additional children after menopause might reduce one’s chances of developing cancer later in life by reducing the number of menstrual cycles over time.”
If you’re not sure if you have a greater risk or less than others, ask your doctor. # BlackWomenAndBreastCancer