Black Women Less Likely to Be Tested for Cancer

Due to the false notion that breast cancer is a white woman’s disease, black women with a family history of breast cancer are less likely than white women to get genetic counseling, blacknews.com reported.

“Racial disparities are common when it comes to preventative medical care, but the size of the difference was really surprising,” Dr. Katrina Armstrong said, a cancer researcher at University of Pennsylvania who led the study.

In the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers questioned 408 women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer. Of the 71 black women studied,only 16 received counseling, roughly 22 percent. White women, however, fared better in the study, with 60 percent of white women saying they received genetic counseling.

Armstrong said the gap in genetic testing may result from fears of discrimination and a general distrust of the medical establishment.

Howard University senior physician assistant major Kyana Crawford, agrees.

“I plan to work in the medical field and I already see hesitation among Black people to go to a doctor and get check-ups,” Crawford said.

While breast cancer is more common among white women, both races have similar rates of genetic flaws.

Breast cancer mortality rates are higher in Black women.

“It’s important, especially for African Americans, to get physicals, health screenings and mammograms for females,” Crawford said.