Friday, May 24, 2019

Minorities feel cast aside by health system

Black women's fatality rate from breast cancer greatly exceeds that of whites, HuffPost story says

Black women are 40% more likely to die of breast cancer than whites, especially in the South.

That was the conclusion of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to a recent story by Max Blau on the HuffPost website.

"Louisiana and Mississippi have the highest racial disparities in breast cancer mortality," Blau's piece quotes the American Cancer Society, with the excess death rate among black women being more than 60%.

But Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee all have rates above 40%.

One reason, the HuffPost article says, "is that researchers haven't developed advanced treatments for a series of aggressive [and hard to treat] tumors — known as triple-negative breast cancer — that black women are more likely to get. Another is that recent advancements in cancer therapies for other kinds of tumors have yet to be fully proven in minorities, in part because of the lack of diversity in…clinical trials."

Moreover, the story contends, "black women have described feeling cast aside by a health system of doctors, nurses and support groups that rarely look like them; and face further obstacles outside labs and hospitals — including lack of access to jobs, transit and health insurance. This marginalization of black women is especially prevalent in the South."

Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice
Blau quotes Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, president and dean of the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, as expressing the hope that "we move beyond the disparities and put our dollars toward solutions that not only close the gaps but lead to healing equity."

The writer also notes that, at the 2019 American Association for Cancer Research's annual conference, Dr. Shafiq Khan, a biological sciences professor at Clark Atlanta University, maintained that "treatments developed and approved are disproportionately tested on white people."

More information on triple-negative research can be found in "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," a VitalityPress book that I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.

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