Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in California, regardless of race/ethnicity. Survival is excellent when diagnosed early. If confined to the breast when discovered, five-year survival is over 95 percent.
1 out of every 4 women who are diagnosed with breast cancer will be African American.
- Although African American women have the lowest rates of breast cancer incidents they account for the highest percentages of breast cancer related deaths in the US.
- 33% of African American women diagnosed with breast cancer are 50 or older.
- In 2012 it is expected that 85 women will die in Fresno County from breast cancer.
African American women under the age of 40 have more aggressive and deadly tumors, need earlier, more frequent breast cancer screenings, and aggressive medical treatment to increase their survival.
The risk factors for breast cancer include:
- Diet/being overweight
- Women who began having periods before the age of 12
- Women who experience menopause after the age of 55
- Having a grandmother, mother, sister, or daughter diagnosed with breast cancer
What can you do?
- Have a clinical breast examination by YOUR health care provider every 3 years beginning at ages 20-39
- Have an annual mammogram beginning at the age of 40 (if high risk your healthcare provider may recommend starting mammograms before 40 or having additional screening tests)
- Beginning at the age of 20 perform regular breast self examinations
The West Fresno Family Resource Center has begun a Breast cancer Support Project for African American women. It is designed to assist women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer through a support system that will facilitate their treatment process.
The primary goal of the Breast Cancer Support Project is to address the disparity that African American women are less likely to develop breast cancer but more likely to die of breast cancer than other women in California, due primarily to late identification and diagnosis. The cancer rates for African Americans are dramatically higher for African Americans than any other ethnic minority population in the United States.
The program is designed to help African American women navigate the healthcare system to their benefit to increase the probability of a positive experience and satisfactory health outcome. The program includes:
- Arranging transportation to and from physicians appointments
- Attend medical appointments to ensure that medical treatment is understood
- Liking the client to appropriate services