Komen study shows why Black women die from breast cancer more than white women in Tidewater area


CHESAPEAKE, Va (WAVY)– Lynne Young of Chesapeake, has a long family history of breast cancer.

“Four generations — a lot — so it explains my passion for reaching out and being involved in the community,” she told WAVY.

As an advocate in the community, Young said she has heard stories of racism, poor care and health discrimination.

“There are so many layers, so many factors, I can’t isolate it into one,” she said.

Susan G Komen did a study to pinpoint why Black women are more likely to die from breast cancer than white women in the U.S. They found the health disparities in the Tidewater metro area are among the highest in the country.

“Although Black women in the Tidewater Metropolitan Area are less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer when compared to white women when they are diagnosed with breast cancer, they’re more likely to die of the disease,” Dr. Kim Johnson, director of the Susan G. Komen African-American Health Equity Initiative told WAVY.

Johnson said they found the widest gap in Suffolk and Chesapeake.

The study suggests multiple reasons for inequities, including financial barriers, transportation issues, lack of insurance as well as fear of going to a doctor.

Komen took this data and created a plan aimed at closing the gap.

“Susan G Komen has launched our ‘Stand for H.E.R.’ The ‘H.E.R.’ is an acronym for a ‘health equity revolution’ and that’s really what we need. We need a revolution,” Johnson said.

Through existing programs, Komen plans to connect patients to care through patient navigators, provide emotional and financial support and help educate the entire community.

Young hopes it will help make a change and save lives.

“It makes me feel great that this is not just an African American problem, it’s an everyone problem,” she said. “We all must be involved.”

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