Breast Cancer Awareness Month- what about health disparities

A global initiative that is showing results

Pink October remains the International Breast Cancer Awareness Month. All over the world buildings and monuments are illuminated in a pink glow, Pink Ribbons and gadgets are sold, with events, walks, and marathons being organized. Just as a reminder: the Pink Ribbon became the symbol of Breast cancer over two decades ago and is now recognized worldwide.

wereldborstkankermaandDue to the numerous initiatives that have taken place over the last couple of years, a significant amount of people have a general understanding of what breast cancer is. Needless to say, more action needs to be taken to raise awareness about risk factors and the impact of lifestyle on these risk factors. Early detection also remains another focus point during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Cancer health disparities

Breast cancer is the second most occurring cancer on a global level, with over 1.7 million diagnosis per year. Thankfully, advances in treatment options and genetic testing have led to a decline in the number of cancer deaths in the United States. Research has shown that White women have a higher incidence of breast cancer, African Americans/Blacks have a much higher death rate compared to Whites (25% higher). The main reason for this is a lack of health care coverage and a lower socioeconomic status, barriers to early detection and screening.

Another population that needs more attention is the Latino population in the United States. Initiatives from organizations such as Latinas Contra Cancer ( bring special attention to health disparities and organize actions on a federal level to bring attention to minority groups. CEO and founder of Latinas Contra Cancer, Ysabel Duron, is also a member of the Institutional Review Board for President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative at the NIH.