Money Matters | October 2021

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to raise awareness about the impact of breast cancer and increase prevention. Therefore, The Lighthouse | Black Girl Projects couldn’t let pass the opportunity to present some statistics about it, showing why Black women are at a greater disadvantage when it comes to this disease. I know this isn’t economics-related, but it is an issue every woman should be aware of.  

The American Cancer Society estimated that breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed among women and it is the second leading cause of cancer death. They estimate that this year more than 281,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 42,290 non-invasive breast cancers will be diagnosed in women in the United States.  

However, when it comes to Black women the situation gets more alarming, making it imperative to work toward closing the racial gap.  

  • Black women seemed to have a lower incidence rate, a situation that has changed recently. The incidence rate of breast cancer among Black women is 126,7 per 100,000, very close to 130,8 among whites.  
  • Black women now have the highest breast cancer death rate (28,4 deaths per 100,000) which is more than double than the one of Asian/Pacific Islanders (11,5), who have the lowest incidents and death rates.  
  • Black women have higher incidence rates than white women before age 40 and are more likely to die from breast cancer at every stage.  
  • The five-year relative survival rate has increased, going from 62% in 1975-1977 to 83% in 2009-2015 for Black women versus 76% to 92% in white women. Even though it has improved, there is still a racial gap that needs to be closed.  
  • Factors such as poverty, less education, and lack of health insurance are associated with lower breast cancer survival for Black women.  
  • Racial and ethnic disparities in cancer are largely due to socioeconomic inequities and access to high-quality health care, which may be attributed in part to historical and persistent racism in the United States.  

All these statistics are just a reflection of the gap that exists among Black women and women from other races in health care terms. This gap is mainly due to the lack of economic opportunities and the lack of access to high-quality health care from Black women. Thus, designing inclusive and effective public policies that guarantee access to at least high-quality education, work, and high-quality health care to every Black girl, will help close this and many other gaps that exist in the life of Black women.  

I look forward to meeting you back here next month with new economic topics to be discussed. If you have questions for me about economics, send an email to contributors@loveblackgirls.org and I’ll answer it!  

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