Black Women Face Highest Breast Cancer Death Rate Despite Significant Overall Decline

It’s a startling statistic: African-American women are 40 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than white women. In Colorado, the chances of survival don’t get much better. Black women in Colorado die of breast cancer almost 30 percent more often than their white peers.

Barriers to breast health care, advanced-stage diagnoses, and aggressive breast cancers are just some of the reasons behind this unacceptable mortality disparity.

Komen Colorado African American Advisory Council member Tracey Drayton said family history and fear also play roles.

“Women are afraid to get or hear their diagnosis of having breast cancer. This can attribute to why women may wait to go to the doctor, therefore prolonging their diagnosis and treatment,” Drayton said. “And a woman that does not know her family history may not be anxious to seek information for herself.”

In partnership with the Ad Council, Susan G. Komen® helped to produce the Know Your Girls™ campaign to address some of these issues and empower and educate black women. The campaign encourages black women ages 30-55 to learn about their personal risk and resources available.

While Drayton said an education campaign is a worthy one, she said there are many women without the financial means for care.

“It is important for funding and resources to be available to women in our communities in order to help and support women,” she said.