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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Why Black women face a triple threat from breast cancer

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Yamiche Alcindor:

Across town, Bernard Fuller was behind the wheel of a mobile mammography unit. It’s another way Breast Care for Washington is trying to boost the number of women getting breast exams.

The big bus maneuvers around the nation’s capital, a city where breast cancer death rates for Black women are among the very highest in the country, 34.3 per 100,000 people.

On this day, the bus set up in the parking lot of the former providence hospital in Northeast Washington. Black women face a triple threat. They have higher mortality rates, they get breast cancer at younger ages, and have a more aggressive form of the disease.

The reasons why aren’t totally clear, so early diagnosis is key. Mobile units like this one are a valuable tool for the medical community. They help reach women who live in medically underserved areas. And in the middle of a pandemic, they could help catch up on the backlog of patients who have skipped their screenings.

And as 76-year-old Joyce Terry knows, a year can make all the difference.

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