The chosen topic is breast cancer inherent to the US female population, which will be analyzed by appealing to the relevant statistics. Specifically, there is a necessity to explore health disparities coming from the racial factor in the United States. Hence, the target population for this discussion will be non-Hispanic White and non-Hispanic Black women aged from 20 to 85 years, given the availability of the required data.
The data was obtained from the recognized organizations in the field, as well as from peer-reviewed publications providing vital sets of data on the problem and their interpretations. In particular, the National Cancer Institute was the primary source of collecting statistics regarding the general epidemiology of the disease in the US. However, the vast volume of research was done via Google Scholar, which provided significant works that contributed to the understanding of specific health disparities.
Estimated new breast cancer cases and deaths (women only) in the United States in 2022 are as follows. There have been 287,859 new cases – 15% of all new cancer cases – and the estimated deaths are 43,250 – 7.1% of all cancer death (The National Cancer Institute, 2022). Breast cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in US women, with an estimated 48,530 cases of female breast ductal carcinoma and 276,480 cases of invasive disease in 2019 (Xie et al., 2019). Thus, less than one in six women diagnosed with breast cancer dies from the disease. By comparison, about 63,220 American women were estimated to die from lung cancer in 2018 (Gangnon et al., 2018).
Increasing age is the most important risk factor for most types of cancer. Other risk factors for developing breast cancer include the following. Among these factors are family health history, considerable hereditary susceptibility, germline mutation of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes and other genes for susceptibility to breast cancer, alcohol consumption, the density of breast tissue, estrogen, and menstrual history. It should be noted that among all women with breast cancer, 5% to 10% may have a germline mutation in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. The estimated lifetime risk of developing breast cancer in women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations is between 40% and 85% (Gangnon et al., 2018). Carriers with a history of breast cancer have an increased risk of developing contralateral disease that can be as high as 5% per year.
In the last forty years, both black and white females’ 5-year overall survival rates for breast cancer have grown dramatically. Even yet, there is a significant racial divide within the scope given. Recently, a 5-year survival rate of 81 percent for Black females and 92 percent for White females have been reported. In comparison to White women, Black women experience more invasive breast cancers that are formed at a younger age and have shorter survival rates. Particularly, “the percentage of breast cancer mortality among Black women is about 42% higher compared to White women” (Yedjou et al., 2019, p. 40). Furthermore, the breast cancer survival rate has stayed lower in White women while increasing in Black women throughout a considerable period. It should also be noted that the District of Columbia has demonstrated the highest mortality rate – 34.4 – among Black females (DeSantis et al., 2017).
Widespread screening increases the incidence of breast cancer in a given population and alters the characteristics of detected cancers with increased incidence of lower-risk cancers, precancerous lesions, and ductal carcinoma. Population-based studies in the United States demonstrate an increase in the incidence of invasive breast cancer since the 1970s, which is associated with the widespread introduction of both postmenopausal hormone therapy and screening mammography (Chaurasia & Tiwari, 2018). In the past decade, women have abstained from the use of postmenopausal hormones, and the incidence of breast cancer has declined, but not to levels seen before the widespread use of screening mammography.
In the framework of health disparities, the following assumptions can be formulated. The late phase of breast cancer at detection, obstacles to access to healthcare, biological and hereditary disparities in tumors, and the frequency of risk variables are all aspects that contribute to the high mortality and poor survival rates in Black females compared to White females. Difficulties in early diagnosis and screening, a lack of treatment insurance, and unequal access to breakthroughs in cancer therapy are all plausible causes for the illustrated state of affairs.
The conducted research has demonstrated that breast cancer is an acute problem for the female population of the US. Health disparities between non-Hispanic White and non-Hispanic Black women are founded mostly on socio-economic factors; thus, the related strategies to address the issue should take this into account. Specifically, breastfeeding prevents the development of triple-negative breast cancer. In a prospective study, breastfeeding for four months or longer was shown to reduce the risk of basal-like breast cancer by 40% (Yedjou et al., 2019). Prevention of breast cancer currently plays a key role in the fight against this disease. The main strategy for primary prevention of breast cancer is the positioning of a healthy lifestyle for women. Middle-aged women should understand that by changing behavior, it is possible to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. In addition, increasing women’s awareness of breast cancer and its prevention can help reduce the incidence and financial costs of treatment.
Chaurasia, V., Pal, S., & Tiwari, B. (2018). Prediction of benign and malignant breast cancer using data mining techniques. Journal of Algorithms & Computational Technology, 119–126.
DeSantis, C. E., Ma, J., Sauer, A. G., Newman, L. A., Jemal, A. (2017). Breast cancer statistics, 2017, racial disparity in mortality by state. A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, 67(6), 439–448.
Gangnon, R. E., Stout, N. K., Alagoz, O., Hampton, J. M., Sprague, B. L., & Trentham-Dietz, A. (2018). Contribution of breast cancer to overall mortality for US women. Medical Decision Making, 38(1_suppl), 24S-31S.
The National Cancer Institute. (2022). Cancer stat facts: Female breast cancer. Web.
Xie, J., Ying, Y.-Y., Xu, B., Li, Y., Zhang, X., & Li, C. (2019). Metastasis pattern and prognosis of male breast cancer patients in US: a population-based study from SEER database. Therapeutic Advances in Medical Oncology. Web.
Yedjou, C. G., Sims, J. N., Miele, L., Noubissi, F., Lowe, L., Fonseca, D. D., Alo, R. A., Payton, M., & Tchounwou, P. B. (2019). Health and racial disparity in breast cancer. Advances in experimental medicine and biology, 1152, 31–49.