African-American women less likely to survive breast cancer

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

HOUSTON, TX – African-American, White, Asian, Hispanic — cancer’s an equal opportunity offender. It doesn’t discriminate against anyone …or does it??

Doctors have known for years black women are more likely to die from breast cancer than whites.

A new study of more than 15,000 women published by the American Medical Association shows it’s not due to genetics, or where you live, or how much money you make. It’s how soon and how often you get to the doctor to get checked out.

Kelly Dempsey, M.D., a breast surgeon with Methodist Hospital Sugar Land, agrees with the findings, “What I’ve seen over the years is that African American women are often times more afraid of breast cancer and will wait longer until they actually get those tests done and find out what’s wrong with them.  They often times will ignore the signs of breast cancer until they’re very far advanced.”

One in eight American women will develop the disease, but it’s by no means a death sentence.

“We are very blessed and fortunate to be in this country where breast cancer is 90% curable,” says Dempsey, “compared to other countries where breast cancer is 90% fatal.”

New mom Carla James says don’t add her to the list of black women scared of checkups, “My husband says I’m very anal because I’m quick to go the doctor for every little thing, but that’s because I wanna be cautious and I wanna be here, cause I just had a little baby, so I wanna be here for her.” Anal or not– you go, Carla!

Bottom line, ladies: cancer’s out there! But stay abreast of it with mammograms and regular checkups, and odds are good you’ll come out a winner.