African Americans with breast cancer : higher mortality rate - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

African Americans with breast cancer: higher mortality rate

African Americans with breast cancer: higher mortality rate

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By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email 

TIFTON, GA (WALB) –Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women in the United States, second only to skin cancer.

It is also the second leading cause of cancer death in women.

But a new study shows that one group of women is more likely to die from the disease than others,

It's a trip some women dread and others avoid overall.

"I think there is a fear factor and a lot of woman dread getting it," said Jeff Flannery, Director of Radiology at Tift Regional Medical Center.

But doctors say getting a mammogram early, can save your life.

"This is a dreadful disease and its one we can overcome by early detection particularly for the minority population, the minority population is critical," said Flannery.

According to the American Cancer Society one group of women is more likely to die from the disease, African American women.

Doctors say without early detection, tumors are found at later more advanced stage and there are fewer treatment options for those patients.

"We have seen multiple cases of young woman some as young as in their 20's coming to us and they have advanced breast cancer," said Flannery.

Some women put off screenings for a number of reasons, one major one being money.

"We never want to see a woman diagnosed with breast cancer and the reason is she didn't have financial means," said Flannery.

Officials at Tift Regional say they are doing everything they can to help patients pay for those services.

"There are multiple agencies available to us to help those patients pay for screening mammogram," said Flannery.

Doctors say women also avoid mammogram because of fear, possible pain, and overall denial.

"They hear its very painful, with the digital mammography machine we still have to do breast compression but it is not as painful and we have had multiple patients tells us gee this isn't nearly as bad as it used to be," said Flannery.

The American Cancer Society recommends all women at the age of 40 get screening mammograms, but if a person has a family history of breast cancer you should come in for a screening earlier.

Physicians at Tift Regional say they do not agree with new recommendations put forth by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, suggesting , that women between the ages of 40 and 49 should not necessarily get regular breast cancer mammogram screenings and that 50-to-59-year-old women should have them every two years instead of every year, as the American Cancer Society and other health organizations recommend.

Officials at Tift Regional say they also hold events at night so women who have scheduling conflicts can get screening without having to take off work.

If you would like to find out how Tift Regional is helping minorities combat breast cancer click here

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