Breast cancer screening recommendations: African American women are at a disadvantage
Journal of Breast Imaging
Since 1990, breast cancer mortality has decreased by 40% in white women but only 26% in African American women. The age at diagnosis of breast cancer is younger in black women. Breast cancer diagnosed before age 50 represents 23% of all breast cancers in African American women but only 16% of all breast cancers in white women. White women have a higher incidence of breast cancer over the age of 60. Tumor subtypes also vary among racial and ethnic groups. The triple-negative (TN) subtype, which has a poorer outcome and occurs at a younger age, represents 21% of invasive breast cancers in black women but only 10% of invasive breast cancers in white women. The hormone receptor–positive subtype, which is more common in older women and has the best outcome, has a higher incidence in white women (70%) than in black women (61%). The BRCA2 mutation is also more common in black women than in white women (other than those who are of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry). There are also many barriers to screening. Major ones include the lack of contact with a primary health care provider as well as a decreased perceived risk of having breast cancer in the African American population. Given the younger age of onset and the higher incidence of the TN molecular subtype, following breast cancer screening guidelines that do not support screening before the age of 50 may disadvantage black women.
Murray Rebner, MD, FACR, FSBI, Vidya R Pai, MD, FACR, Breast Cancer Screening Recommendations: African American Women Are at a Disadvantage, Journal of Breast Imaging, Volume 2, Issue 5, September/October 2020, Pages 416–421, https://doi.org/10.1093/jbi/wbaa067