Saturday Events in San Antonio, Oakland Aim To Increase Awareness of Breast Cancer Among Minority Women
The San Antonio Multicultural Conference on Breast Cancer, to be held for the first time on Saturday, will examine the racial disparities in breast cancer mortality rates, the San Antonio-Express-News reports.
The San Antonio affiliate of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Council for Excellence in Women's Health at the University of Texas' Health Science Center are sponsoring the event. The conference will offer discussions on breast self-exams, mammography, genetic testing, and how religious and cultural beliefs can affect screening and treatment (Foy, San Antonio-Express-News, 5/16).
Also on Saturday, the Northern California Cancer Center will hold a conference to discuss issues related to black women and breast cancer, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Allday, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/18).
Seventy-six percent of black women are alive five years after being diagnosed with breast cancer, compared with 90% of white women, according to the American Cancer Society. Hispanic women also are more likely than whites to die from breast cancer, even though they have a lower rate of the disease. Researchers attribute the disparities to differences in screening practices, the stage of the disease at diagnosis, tumor biology and access to medical care, the Express-News reports (San Antonio-Express-News, 5/16).
Christy Russell, chair of the breast cancer advisory group for the American Cancer Society, said, "Newer data [are]suggesting that African-American women do seem to have worse cancers and that the biology of their cancer seems to be worse as a group than it is for Caucasian women" (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/18).
"For the longest time, breast cancer activists have been so mobilized but the benefits have been driven mainly by middle-class Anglo women," Teresa Van Hoy, an assistant professor and chair of women's studies at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, said, adding, "San Antonio is very well poised to address these larger questions on race and ethnicity. We're hoping to pilot this approach here" (San Antonio Express-News, 5/16).
Esther John, an epidemiologist at the Northern California Cancer Center, said, "There's certainly a lot of interest now to look at the genetics of breast cancer. Maybe it's a genetic profile among African-American women that explains what's going on. But we need more research" (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/18).