The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) tell us in the Cancer Disparities Progress Report 2020 that African Americans have had the highest overall cancer death rate of any racial or ethnic group in the United States for more than four decades.

While African Americans account for a disproportionate number of cancer diagnoses and deaths in various cancers, our communities do not see our cultures well-represented behind the cancer scenes or on the front lines of medicine or research. Because we are severely underrepresented in these crucial areas, it is, at least in part, the problem.

Breast cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in women in the USA, accounting for 41 per cent of all cancers in women. Women diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age (less than 35–40 years) are more likely to have adverse tumor characteristics. So, it‘s actually worse for younger people than those diagnosed at an older age, but we don’t know why. It could be due to the differences available in care and health treatments. Or, as has also been suggested, we may be somehow more genetically predisposed.

The odds of late-stage breast cancer among black women are about 43 per cent higher when compared with our white counterparts. In terms of breast cancer at the stage of diagnosis, the racial gap has WIDENED IN THE RECENT DECADE.

Some studies suggest Black women may also have up to a 45 per cent increased risk of death from HER2-positive metastatic breast cancers compared with white women. It’s a side point this is a similar story in the U.K. even though it has a public national health system (the NHS).



Numerous studies have demonstrated disproportionately higher rates of Triple-Negative breast cancer (TNBC) in black women 24–28 years and young women overall. TNBC has been associated with a higher breast cancer risk at all levels, and there is no specific remedy. MUCH EARLIER DETECTION is our best hope of recovering from TNBC. This cannot be emphasised enough. It might be true that black women are more genetically susceptible to this most aggressive breast cancer, but it might not. Honestly, the jury is out. What is in your control is to ACT FAST to get yourself screened.



A study from a large cohort of African American women suggests women with Type-2-diabetes (T2D) have a 40 per cent increased risk of developing estrogenNEGATIVE-related breast cancer. This is part of the triple-negative breast cancer referred to above that we know the least about but is highly aggressive.

The association between T2D and breast cancer was observed primarily among women who were NOT OBESE. That’s important because obesity has also been associated with breast cancer. I’m not saying obesity is something we can afford to ignore. I am overweight and still overeat sugar, a constant battle that I’m not proud of. There are many, many reports to suggest cancer feeds off sugar. Bear in mind T2D is said to be linked to your BMI but not necessarily to breast cancer itself.

THE POINT IS, the frequency of T2D is twice as high in non-Hispanic blacks compared to non-Hispanic whites, so this may partly explain why African American women have a disproportionately high incidence of oestrogen breast cancer compared to U.S. white women.

NOTE: T2D was not associated with an increase of estrogen-POSITIVE incidence of breast cancer which is the most common form of breast cancer. I’ve got no answers except to say make the connections you need to make for yourself and speak to your doctor from an informed place.


Several studies tell us as Black women we are less likely to have genetic testing for an abnormal BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. You might think that we are suspicious of it but apparently not. It doesn’t seem to be based on attitudes about genetic testing, insurance, income levels, or a difference in the risk of having a mutation. What’s left?

Apparently, the difference in genetic testing rates in Black and white women isn’t because we tend to see different doctors but rather, many oncologists and surgeons are less likely to recommend genetic testing to us as Black women?

Get informed and make sure you know your options around this. Learn about the mutated BRCA Gene.



Her Only Choice

Surviving The Storm

Living Proof

There’s Something in the Water

In Her Words




  1. The Cancer Journals by Audre Lorde
  2. A Burst of Light by Audre Lorde
  3. Everybody’s Got Something by Robin Roberts
  4. A Black Woman’s Breast Cancer Survival Guide by Cheryl D. Holloway
  5. Black Women and Breast Cancer by Elizabeth A. Williams
  6. Health Communication and Breast Cancer among Black Women: Culture, Identity, Spirituality, and Strength by Annette D Madlock
  7. This Is Only a Test: What Breast Cancer Taught Me about Faith, Love, Hair, and Business by Chris -Tia- Donaldson
  8. Orange is the New Pink: My Battle with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer by Marquita Bass
  9. Dig In Your Heels: The Glamorous (and Not So Glamorous) Life of a Young Breast Cancer Survivor by Karla Antoinette Baptiste
  10. Surviving in Stilettos: Inspiration to the Divas who are Young, Fabulous & dealing with the effects of Breast Cancer by Deetria Nichole Cannon & Anthony Scott Jr.
  11. My Strength is Your Strength Journal: Winning Against Breast Cancer by Valeda Keys
  12. Wrapped-N-Pink: A Poetic Story of Surviving Breast Cancer Through Fear, Faith, Trust and Hope by  Anita Jeter-Peterkin
  13. We Survive to Thrive!: life changing stories of breast cancer survivors by   Paula Smith Broadnax  
  14. Black Seed Oil for Breast Cancer: The effect of Black Seed Oil against Cancer Dr. Robert Smith
  15. Breast Cancer in Women of African Descent Christopher Kwesi O. Williams Olufunmilayo I. Olopade, Carla I. Falkson
  16. Breast cancer in young black women by Christopher Kwesi O. Williams, Olufunmilayo I. Olopade & Carla I. Falkson







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