Despite the confusion prompted by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force earlier this year, research has consistently shown that regular and consistent mammogram screenings remain the best current line of defense for catching breast cancer early. And although major medical organizations recommend regular mammograms for women age 40 and over, not all women are screened regularly and black women continue to die of breast cancer at higher rates.
But, why? While some research suggests that the types of breast cancer that victimize women of color, are more virulent, other studies show that women of color and lower income women have higher mortality rates due to intrinsic health disparities and cultural disconnects: such women are often the caregivers of their families and put the health of their children and families before themselves, pushing off their own health needs. Other barriers include lack of health insurance, transportation or child care, poor patient-doctor communications and/or language barriers, lack of information, negative experiences or beliefs of the medical system, fear, and cultural or religious beliefs. Women lead busy, stressful lives, and breast health usually just isn't a priority. Until it's too late.