Black Women’s Breast Cancer Disparities Related to Inadequate Health System, Opinion Piece Says
Part of black women's "increased vulnerability to breast cancer is a result of differential access to health care and health services," Julianne Malveaux, president of Bennett College for Women, writes in a Seattle Medium opinion piece. She notes that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, saying that awareness weeks or months focusing on a particular health issue also should spend some time on the "broader issue of health care and health access." She writes that "as we raise awareness about breast cancer, we must also raise awareness about the ways breast cancer incidence is intertwined with the status of our health care system."
She adds, "Too many African-Americans lack health insurance. Too many wear the stress of racism in poor eating and living habits, and it shows up with obesity, high blood pressure, and the higher incidence of other diseases in our community."
Malveaux writes, "It is not clear why our nation has not galvanized around the health care issue. To be sure, both presidential candidates have ideas about health insurance and health care; their plans are divergent." She calls for universal access to preventive health care services, as well as protections against bankruptcy for people diagnosed with diseases that require costly treatment.
She concludes that the "health care disparities that riddle our system are as present in the realm of breast cancer and in other areas," and black women "must be among those sporting pink ribbons, but beyond the pink ribbons, we must all be passionate advocates for increased health care access, especially in the African-American community" (Malveaux, Seattle Medium, 10/15).