Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Black women. Now, a new study published in the journal of Ethnicity & Health reveals that racial disparities keep Black women from receiving preventive care at the same rate as their white counterparts, reports Ohio State News.

For the analysis, researchers interviewed 50 women (30 white and 20 Black) at high risk for breast cancer.

The study reaffirmed previous study findings that showed Black women at high risk for breast cancer were less likely than white women to have genetic testing, take medications to protect themselves against cancer and to have or consider having their breasts or ovaries removed as a preventive measure. 

But why? According to findings, Black women were less aware of their options and at a disadvantage when it came to accessing cancer prevention information. What’s more, only 15 percent of Black women involved in the study had visited a specialist for their breast health compared with 70 percent of white women.

Overall, researchers concluded that African-American women’s decision to manage their cancer risk rested on three accumulated layers of information: receiving specific information about preventive care options, general information about managing breast cancer risk and basic perceptions of breast cancer risk and prevention.

Research also revealed trends that showed Black women were burdened with other health care concerns—their own as well as those of other members of their family .

“These groups of women are not just making different choices,” said lead author Tasleem Padamsee, PhD, of Ohio State University. “They’re having different experiences. Preventing cancer and lowering risk of death from cancer requires that all high-risk women receive the information they need.”

Padamsee and her coauthors concluded: “All health care providers could be educated about the relevance of risk information and risk-management options for African-American women and the current disparities in provision of this information across race.”

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