Breast cancer detection less among African-Americans

Breast cancer detection less among African-Americans

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Data shows there's a gap between the number of white women and minority women facing breast cancer in the Toledo-area.

In Lucas County, there are fewer African-American women who are diagnosed in the early stages.

WTOL has been looking into the data to find out why.

Sometimes it's fear, sometimes insurance.

But according to local experts, neither of those things should get in the way of checking yourself out.

A local breast cancer survivor, Prescilla Brown-Hutchens, says you need to put yourself first when it counts.

Twenty years ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer after she found a lump in her chest during a breast self- exam.

Prescilla says she's one of the lucky ones because she caught it in the beginning stages.

"So that's the importance of getting the mammogram," Brown-Hutchens said. "As well as getting the mammogram."

According to a recent report, from 2010 to 2014, white patients were diagnosed in the early stages 86 percent of the time, compared with 78 percent of black patients.

But when it comes to breast cancer treatment, early detection can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.

Brown-Hutches says some women are juggling too many things and put off getting screenings.

"Sometimes you'll say 'Oh I'll do it later,' and you don't do it later," Brown-Hutchens said. "Then when you do go back and have that time for you, you're in stage 2 or 4 or you know higher. "

That's why Susan G Komen of Northwest Ohio is taking a proactive approach to close the gap between white women and African-Americans,  especially because they are also at higher risk.

"It's shocking when you think that African-American women are 40 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than white women," Komen Executiv  Director, Mary Westphal said. "So our job is to really make sure that we figure out how we change that up. How are they getting their needed screenings and getting access to the care they need to survive?"

That's why they're getting the message out.

Amber Currie, Komen's minority breast health coordinator, is one of the people working to do just that.

"I'm going to community centers and also churches to talk about breast self-awareness," Currie said. "I'm talking about Komen's 4 breast self-awareness messages. Know your risk, get screened, know what's normal for you and make healthy lifestyle choices."

But they say it's up to us too, to remind family and friends, and go with them to get checked. Prescilla says her support group and others at Komen are there to help.

"We even go with you to your doctor's appointment," Brown-Hutchens said. "If you're afraid to go by yourself, we'll go with you."

Follow WTOL:  

Copyright 2017 WTOL. All rights reserved.