October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM). Since the program began in 1985, mammography rates have more than doubled for women age 50 and older and breast cancer deaths have declined.
However, minority populations are not sharing equally in this bounty. The essence of health disparities in our communities is manifested in the way breast cancer affects communities of color.
African American women have a slightly higher incidence rate of breast cancer than White women before age 35, but that situation reverses itself after age 35. However, African American women are more likely to die from breast cancer at every age.
Latinas are in a similar situation. Hispanic women are about 40% less likely to have breast cancer than white women; however, they have a higher risk of dying from the disease.
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