By Consumers for Quality Care, on November 2, 2022
According to a Breast Cancer Research Foundation study and reported by The Houston Chronicle, Black American women under the age of 50 are twice as likely to die from breast cancer than their white counterparts, underlining the need to address racial disparities found in the health care system.
While black women are impacted by breast cancer at a greater rate, only 5 percent of all participants in U.S. clinical trials are black. When Kimberly Richardson was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in 2017, she took her doctor’s recommendation to join a trial for an experimental chemotherapy pill.
“I know that a lot of African Americans turn up their noses to clinical trials,” said Richardson, acknowledging the wariness black Americans feel after years of racism found in medicine. Richardson said she “looked at it different. When I go to speak and I give my story, I let other women know it’s worth a try.”
Black women are more likely to be diagnosed with an aggressive subtype of breast cancer. That, coupled with the fact that black women tend to be diagnosed with breast cancer at a later stage due to socioeconomic factors, such as inadequate health insurance or lack of access to care, contribute to poorer outcomes in treatment and care.
Experts believe that increasing access to breast cancer screenings and investing in health equity research could improve these racial disparities.
CQC urges lawmakers and regulators to address racial disparities found in our health care system to improve outcomes for all consumers.