Breast also occur in men because men do have

Breast cancer amongst the races                                                                                               


                In this day and age,
the word cancer has been one of the scariest words that one can hear at a
doctor’s appointment. Cancer is a serious disease caused by the interruption of
abnormal cells to spread throughout the human body. It is a life-threatening
tumor that develops in one of both breasts. Breast cancer, in particular is a
malignant tumor that starts within the cells of the breast. The tumor then
invades the tissue and leads to the spreading of cancer which then leads to the
disruption of the human body overall. Breast cancer has been one of the major
cancer that is predominantly experienced by women. Breast cancer occurs in
women but can also occur in men because men do have breast tissue; however,
this disease is well known to occur in women. This paper will further explore
the types of breast cancer and the races of women who are affected by this

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To understand breast cancer, you must first have an understanding of how the
breast is formed. There are many tissues within the breast and all of these
tissues are able to be affected by this disease. There are many terms that are
associated with breast cancer and the tissues that are affected by the cancer.
Some of which are, carcinoma which is a cancer that begins in the lining layer of
the breast. According to American Cancer Society, nearly all breast cancers are
carcinomas. Adenocarcinoma is a cancer that starts in the glandular tissue;
this tissue is responsible for the secretion of fluid. This tissue is one which
is responsible for the production of breast milk. Sarcoma are cancers that
begins in the muscle tissue, which is also associated with the blood vessels of
the breast however, this cancer is very rare. Breast cancer is broken down into
many stages, from stage 0 to stage 4 breast cancer. The difference between the
stages are that each stage represents how noninvasive or invasive the cancer
is. The earlier the cancer is detected the better chances of it being treatable
as opposed to the most advanced stage which is

Breast cancer amongst the races                                                                                              2

stage 4. This is the cancer that is very invasive and has spread
to other organs and is resilient to any form of treatment. This unfortunately
leads to illness and death. It is important to know the stages of breast cancer
and all of the treatments that can help get rid of the cancer.

Many questions may arise and one main question is, how does one get breast
cancer? According to American Cancer Society, breast cancer causes are unclear
however, genetics, diet, and chemicals used are a major impact of breast cancer.
A woman who has a family history of breast cancer and more likely to develop it
as well. Researchers have identified two genes which is associated to breast
cancer and they are BRCA1 and BRCA2. Researchers also linked hormone exposure
to breast cancer. An important hormone within a female’s body is estrogen;
according to American Cancer Society, this hormone is responsible for the
division of cells. The more the cells divide, the likelihood of the cells
becoming abnormal. It is important to know the factors of breast cancer and the
race of women who are mostly affected by this cancer and why.

Breast cancer does not discriminate however, women from different racial
backgrounds have different rates of factors that increases their risk for breast
cancer. Some of these factors are, age, body weight, first menstrual cycle,
hormone use, breastfeeding, number of childbirth and lifestyle. According to
Susan G. Komen, Caucasian had the highest rate of getting breast cancer,
followed by African American women. As previously stated, childbirth is a
factor that decreases or increases the chance of breast cancer. Susan G. Komen
states, “For example, compared to Hispanic/Latina women and Black/non-Hispanic
black/African American women, white/non-Hispanic white women are more likely to
have children at a later age and to have fewer children. This factor increases
breast cancer risk”. In accordance to childbirth, the process of breastfeeding
decreases the chance of breast cancer; with African American women and

Breast cancer amongst the races                                                                                  

Hispanic women having children at younger ages and also
breastfeeding, this gives them a better chance of decreasing their chances of
developing breast cancer. Overall, African Americans women have a slightly
lower chance of breast cancer compared to White women. Now here is the twist;
yes, African American women have a slightly lower chance but with age, the
probability increases. Among the ages of 40 and younger, African American women
have a higher rate of developing breast cancer compared to white women.
According to Susan G. Komen, the reason for this claim may be due to
reproductive and lifestyles. Statistics shows that African American women are
diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age; by the age of 60, white women
chances of breast cancer increase. From 2008-2012, breast cancer incidences
increased 0.4% in African American women and 1.5% per year in white women.
Evidence shows that breast cancer rates vary by race/ethnicity. Statistically,
in 2006 white women who were diagnosed with breast cancer was 182,130 and the
deaths due to this was 34,320 as opposed to African American women who had a
total of 19,620 and the death due to this was 5,670. The rates do vary each

There are three subtypes of breast cancer.
This subtype is diagnosed by the presence of the tumor being presented or the
lack of the receptors known as hormones. According to Susan G. Komen, the
presence or the lack of the receptors known to fuel most breast cancers which
are estrogen, progesterone and human epidermal growth. The successful
treatments for breast cancer for breast cancer targets these receptors. Hormone
receptors are responsible for receiving messages from the hormones estrogen and
progesterone. These hormones are conjoined to receptors that provides the functions
which allows the cells to grow, multiply and function in its proper manner.
Breast cancer cells also have these hormone receptors which is responsible for

Breast cancer amongst the races                                                                                          4

responding well to treatment. Unfortunately, in African American
women, statistics shows that they are more prone to being diagnosed with triple
negative breast cancer. This means that African American women does not have
the receptors needed to target the cancer. This is known as estrogen
receptor-negative, progesterone receptor-negative, and HER2-negative. However,
although this type of cancer is resilient to treatment, it does respond well to
chemotherapy. This is the most aggressive cancer which African American women
are more likely to develop because even after treatment, it tends to recur. Not
only is it aggressive but the survival rate decreases as well. Researchers as
well as pharmaceutical companies are looking for treatments that can target
this cancer. According to Susan G. Komen, some lifestyles are to blame for this
aggressive subtype.   

According to the American Cancer Society, in
2015, white women have a 395 chance of surviving breast cancer than black
women. Now that we established lifestyles, we have to point out the financial
differences between both ethnicities. To do the required screening for breast
cancer which is called mammograms, these women must first have adequate health
insurance. As confirmed by a study observed by the daily news, there is a
racial disparity surrounding access to follow up care and appointments.
Majority of the White women have access to proper health care that can cover
them and help with proper treatment. As opposed to African American women, they
are not offered proper care due to lack of health insurance or even lack of
adequate health insurance. According to a study done (Health Insurance Coverage
and Racial Disparities in Breast Reconstruction in Breast Cancer patients)
health insurance coverage affects the care given to uninsured women. Mostly
women of color who are under public coverage were less likely to receive
reconstruction. Furthermore, minority women on public coverage are most

Breast cancer amongst the races                                                                                     

disadvantaged. Susan G. Komen reported in her study, a main
reason behind differences in mammography screening rates in the U.S. is the health
insurance. It is very important to tackle every cause and effect that this
disease has on the lives of these women affected. In 2015 women ages 40-65, 31
percent of women who were not fortunate enough to have health insurance were
able to have a mammogram done in the past 2 years while 68 percent of those
with health insurance were able to have a mammogram done in the past 2 years.
There is a clear difference and huge gap between the women who have health
insurance and those of the women who does not have health insurance hence is
the reason why the lack of health insurance plays a major for breast screening
disparities not necessarily for one race only but it is predominantly African
American women who are usually faced with this situation. Mentioned previously,
breast cancer rate is slightly low among African American women than in white
women however, breast cancer mortality is higher in African American women and
the factors that are present are a main reason to why the mortality rate is
higher. The diagnosis of breast cancer is usually found later on in African
American women making the survival rate very low. African American women are
usually diagnosed at a later age because some women are not entitled to proper
medical care so these vital doctor visits are limited. Finding breast cancer at
an early stage increases the survival rate greatly. This is why the American
Cancer Society recommends women to begin having yearly mammograms and doctor
visits because the earlier one is screened, the better chance they have to be
cancer-free. Statistic shows that breast cancer mortality was 42 percent higher
in black women than in white women. Prior to the affordable care act, African
American women rarely had access to breast cancer screening as opposed to white
women who had access to regular breast cancer screenings. Women who are poor or
under insured are less able to get access to

Breast cancer amongst the races                                                                                     6

decent screening and treatments. According to American Cancer
Society, black women now have slightly higher rates of mammography use than
other women and this statement holds true. It is unfortunate because not only
does the lifestyle of one race determine their risk of breast cancer but also
the financial status as well.

An article was written on “Woman’s health
magazine” by Zahra Barnes, which dedicated to breast cancer awareness month. The
author Zahra Barnes states, “When you hear the words “breast cancer” you may
think of a middle aged white woman clad in a pink T-shirt and adorned with pink
ribbons, crusading for the awareness of the deadly disease”. It was once said
that breast cancer was a white woman disease and statistic clearly shows that
this statement does not hold true because any race of women is at risk of being
diagnosed with breast cancer. This disease is not biased however, as rehearsed
in this essay it is very important to link breast cancer to one’s lifestyle.
Whether the affluence is due to poverty, poor eating habits, alcoholism, or any
other risk factors, breast cancer is not biased. One article published by Marlyn
Allicock, PhD, MPH, and co, “African American women’s perspective on breast
cancer: implication for communicating risk of basal-like breast cancer”, the
author made a great argument which was the forefront for breast cancer is not
black women, but white women. One participant of the study mentioned, “Or even
those walks where you see the people in pink, there’s never any Black people in
those pictures, either”. This led to the author bringing up a perfect point
which is the lack of representation of African Americans in breast cancer
information and activities. It is unfortunate because most women fail to be involved
in these activities, causing them to be misinformed and ultimately diagnosed
with breast cancer at a later stage. It is very important to be aware of all of
the forms of breast cancer that are found in both races, African Americans and

Breast cancer amongst the races                                                                                     

Caucasian alike. A statement made in the article was, “It is
white women who are diagnosed more, but the African Americans, we die more”. This
is why it is very important to have yearly check ups and understand the risk
that are associated with this life-threatening disease.

In conclusion, breast cancer is a disease that
can affect any race both men and women alike. Due to the mortality linked with
breast cancer, researchers have been encouraging all women to get screened and
take advantage of yearly mammograms. This disease can be prevented by changing
one’s lifestyle and to the best of their ability keep their body free from
toxicants such as alcohol, chemicals, unnecessary medication and staying on a
healthy diet.