Breast Cancer—A Controversial Issue?

By Katie Kamins

Breast Cancer is a topic that is often overlooked or not looked into enough. Ignorance with racial inequality and public knowledge about breast cancer are two major issues that shape this illness, causing it to be the leading cause of death for women of color.

In light of the recent events with Planned Parenthood, the importance of mammogram referrals and cancer screenings were addressed as a necessity that needs to be accessible to all women.

According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, there are disparities in breast cancer screenings that vary greatly. Women with usually low incomes or who lack either an awareness of breast cancer risks and screening methods or treatment availabilities are more likely to be affected. And women who are more likely to fall into each of those categories are women of color.

The mortality rates of women of color who are diagnosed with breast cancer are higher than those of white women. And those under the age of 40, not only have more aggressive and deadly tumors, but also need earlier, more frequent breast cancer screenings, and aggressive medical treatment to increase their survival advantages.

There isn’t enough public knowledge on breast cancer and how to prevent it in the first place. If there isn’t enough public awareness on life threatening diseases, then the likelihood of that disease growing and getting worse increases. The Breast Cancer Awareness community needs to devote more time, energy, and marketing into publicizing preventable actions for breast cancer.

Of course, preventable actions include mammograms and cancer screenings, but those can be expensive, which inherently exclude working class women, a disproportionate amount who tend to be African-American women, from receiving the proper care and treatment they need. Organizations like the African American Breast Cancer Alliance and Sisters Network Incorporated are great resources for support and further information on facts and how to perform personal checkups, but women of color still need a safe space to get affordable care, like at Planned Parenthood.

National Campus Organizer Nancy Aragon and FMLA at Cal State LA at  ‪#‎Pinkout‬ in LA.  We stand with Planned Parenthood!
National Campus Organizer Nancy Aragon and FMLA at Cal State LA at ‪#‎Pinkout‬ in LA.
We stand with Planned Parenthood!

As a woman who had no knowledge of this issue affecting other women prior to individual research, therefore demonstrating ignorance, which is something I HATE, I find it extremely important for everyone to be aware of the unequal disparity occurring in an already difficult situation like breast cancer. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, it is important to not only support places like Planned Parenthood that perform affordable, safe procedures on women who can not properly access expensive treatments, but it is also important to make this disparity public.  Women of color need to be informed on how to access the care they need.

By Katie Kamins

Katie is currently an intern with the Feminist Majority Foundation, as well as a student at George Washington University, where she studies Political Communication. Her favorite places in DC are Adams Morgan and the Georgetown Waterfront.

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