Health Report- Breast cancer in African American women

Health Reports

According to the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network, breast cancer is the most common cancer for black women in the U.S.

These women are also 42% more likely to die from the disease than white women.

New research looks at one possible reason for the disparity. It’s Your Health tonight.

Josie Barbot never imagined that she would be standing in thigh high water learning to fly fish.

“I didn’t even know what it was,” said Josie Barbot, Breast Cancer Patient.

Nor did she think that she would be any good on her first time out.

“I caught two fish. I was fighting them,” said Barbot.

What Jodi said that she did expect unfortunately was a breast cancer diagnosis at some point during her adult life.

“My mom died of breast cancer when she was 46. I was 21,” said Barbot.

Melissa Davis is an expert in genetics, developmental biology and cancer disparities.

“Whether or not you get breast cancer isn’t the disparity. The disparity is whether or not you survive it,” said Dr. Melissa Davis, PHD, Cell and Developmental Biologist at Weill Cornell Medicine.

Oncologists have recognized for years that African American cancer patients tend to be younger and have more aggressive cancers.

Davis and colleagues have identified a set of variants in the gene DARC ACKR one in women of sub Saharan West African Descent.

The researchers found when breast cancer patients had a lower expression of the gene, their tumors were more aggressive.

Davis said that this discovery paves the way for the development of targeted therapies.

“If we can identify what it is that’s driving the proliferation, the aggressiveness, then we can try to block it,” said Davis.

Josie beat back breast cancer twice, first in 2016 and again in 2018. She is active in support groups which led her to an outdoor retreat with casting for recovery where women can share their journey.

“They are not alone out there,” said Barbot.

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