Bridging the Survivor Gap: How Access to Care Helps Recover From Breast Cancer

A type of cancer that’s prevalent in women belonging to both developed and underdeveloped countries across the globe is breast cancer. In fact, breast cancer accounted for the deaths of more than 508,000 women in 2011, according to Global Health Estimates by World Health Organization.

While cancer is a disease that is rather difficult to treat, certain treatment plans can be pursued to cure it partially or completely, in some cases. Nonetheless, breast cancer survival rates continue to decline, particularly in minorities, due to lack of awareness and delayed diagnosis.

Two Women- Breast Cancer Survivors

In this blog, we shed light on breast cancer care and its disproportionate effect on ethnic minorities and enlist some steps to develop an effective survivorship plan.

Breast Cancer Survival and Ethnic Disparities:

Studies conducted by the American Cancer Society indicate Non-Hispanic white women have the highest rate of breast cancer incidence in America. However, deaths caused by breast cancer are the highest among African-American women. Some of the factors which could be contributing to this prominent disparity are advanced stage diagnosis and late screenings.

Studies suggest white American women are significantly more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at its early stages as compared to African-American females. Delays in diagnosis often occur due to lack of access to health insurance and appropriate medical care, but may also take place due to fatalistic perceptions of the disease, along with the commonly held notion that when it comes to breast cancer, white females are prioritized.

Other factors that could contribute to the prevalence of breast cancer in African-American women may include genetic make-up, lack of physical activity, obesity, and socioeconomic status.

Breast Cancer Survivorship Plan Essentials:

The battle against breast cancer begins right after its diagnosis and continues past chemotherapies and surgeries. Reach out to an experienced health care professional and embark on your journey to breast cancer recovery as a woman of color by following these survivorship guidelines:

1. Managing Symptoms:
Dealing with debilitating symptoms of breast cancer, such as pain, fatigue, nausea, bleeding or discharge from the nipples, etc. can be distressing. Integrate palliative care that focuses on management of these symptoms to maintain the quality of your life and relationships.

2. Monitoring Treatment Side-Effects:
Cancer treatment typically brings with itself a wide set of side-effects, both long term and short term. These side-effects could be physical, such as dryness of skin, hot flashes, loss of menstrual period, etc. However, some survivors also experience side-effects psychological in nature, such as mood swings, depression, anxiety, and decreased sexual interest. Monitor these effects and convey them to your healthcare professional to learn how to manage them better.

3. Schedule Follow-Ups:
According to the African American Breast Cancer Alliance, recurrence of breast cancer can take place even after its treatment. Therefore, it’s important to schedule follow-up meetings with your doctor and observe your body for any warning signs of relapse, which may include unexplained bruising, frequent headaches or lumps and bumps around your breast or any other part of your body.

4. Make the most of educational resources:
Racial inequality in breast cancer survival can be combated with adequate knowledge and awareness regarding the disease. Make the most of available educational resources and stay up-to-date with news associated with the disease.

Group of women - breast cancer survivors

Health Power For Minorities is one digital platform though which you can have access to relevant information regarding women’s health and other critical health concerns prevalent in minorities and multicultural populations.

Connect with us today and play your part in spreading awareness and improving health standards of American minorities!

survivor - breast cancer

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