Black women at high risk of developing breast cancer may face a variety of obstacles keeping them from receiving preventive care that could increase their chances of survival.
In a new study, researchers led by Tasleem Padamsee. PHD (above) of Ohio State University interviewed 20 Black women and 30 White women at high risk of developing breast cancer to better understand racial differences in the decision-making process. They found several differences based on race, all of which pointed to potentially worse outcomes for the high-risk Black women.
Overall, the Black women who participated in the study described feeling less ready and equipped to consider and cope with their risk, and less informed about their options. They also reported facing more obstacles in taking advantage of those options and having less access to detailed information to help them make decisions about managing their risk. Black women were also more likely to describe other priorities in their lives—including family, work demands, and other health struggles—that they prioritized.
There were also inequities in the access to specialist care, including genetic counselors. About 15% of the Black women reported having access to specialists, compared with 70% of the White women. That disparity likely had a significant influence on another key finding—that Black women were less likely to know about preventive measures and were much less likely to undergo genetic testing, even when they’d heard of it.
- See “Black Women at High Risk of Breast Cancer May Face Obstacles in Receiving Preventive Care” on the American Society of Clinical Oncology Post website (March 2, 2023)
- See the full text of the scientific paper “Racial differences in prevention decision making among U.S. women at high risk of breast cancer: A qualitative study” by Tasleem J. Padamsee et al.