Race, Ethnicity and Breast Cancer Risk

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
May 17, 2012

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Ethnicity and Breast Cancer RiskWomen and men must be aware of the fact that breast cancer can occur to any gender and at any age. Breast cancer can impact a person of any race, age and ethnic group, though the rate of those developing and dying due to breast cancer has been different among different ethnic and racial groups.

As per the studies done by the National Cancer Institute, non-Hispanic, white women have the highest incidence of breast cancer among U.S. ethnic/racial groups while women of Korean American origin has the lowest incidence of breast cancer. Among women aged between 40-50 years, white women have a lower incidence of breast cancer compared with African American women. Besides, African American women have been noted to strike the highest rate of deaths due to breast cancer. Women of Chinese American descent have the lowest death rate due to breast cancer.

A variety of factors have been grounded for the incidence of breast cancer among different ethnic and racial groups. It has been found that differences in the lifestyle behaviours of people directly impact the incidence of breast cancer in them. Some of the lifestyle behaviours that were found to be different in different ethnic and racial groups include diet, smoking, use of alcohol and exercise.

The occurrence of a higher rate of death in African American women suffering from breast cancer has been linked to the stage at which the cancer was diagnosed. Several studies found that African American women were likely to seek treatment when their cancer had transcended into a less treatable or advanced stage.

A higher population of Hispanics and African American women were found to lack a primary source of care provider. The accessibility to a primary source of health care ensures that a patient receives timely and appropriate treatment or preventive care, which includes routine screenings and check-ups that can help in the diagnosis of breast cancer before it advances.

There are several factors that contribute to the lower rate of preventive and routine health care among the minority. These include:

Communication and language barriers: language and communication barrier can make a person hesitant to talk about his problem freely.

Socioeconomic factors: these factors include the lack of transportation, income level and lack of access to health care facilities.

Cultural expectations and practices:
many women tend to seek traditional ways of treatment than medical remedies.

Understanding of health care symptoms and risks: women, who are unaware about the risks and symptoms of a particular disease, are likely to wait until they experience pain to meet a doctor.


Read more articles on Breast Cancer Causes and Risks.


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