How Ethnicity Affects Breast Cancer Risk

Dec 4, 2018
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Race and ethnicity impact a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. In fact, the lifetime risk of breast cancer for women in the U.S. is 12-13% %, but that rate is misleading without factoring in other factors such as hereditary risks of ethnicity, and socioeconomics.

  • The highest rate of new breast cancer cases overall is seen in Caucasian and African American women
  • The lowest rate of new breast cancer is found in American Indian/Alaska Native women

Although caucasian women are more likely to develop breast cancer than African American women, black women are more likely to present with aggressive breast cancer and present at later stages when the spread of disease is more likely.  Therefore, the mortality (chance of dying) of breast cancer is greater among black women. In addition, different socioeconomic groups have a greater chance of being diagnosed later with breast cancer. If a woman does not have health insurance or she does not have easy access to care, she is less likely to perform preventative screening mammograms. Many communities have access to affordable,  low-cost mammogram centers or offer grants for free screening mammograms for women who qualify financially without insurance. In the Denver and surrounding areas, several options may include STRIDE Clinic, Planned Parenthood, Jefferson County, Summit for women of Hispanic heritage, Indian Health Services, among others. The Women’s Imaging Center offers free mammograms working with these community Clinics or low-cost imaging options for women who cannot obtain these grants. If you have a breast lump or severe breast symptoms such as persistent redness of the breast, nipple or skin retraction, bloody nipple discharge, please tell your physician and /or call us immediately and alert us to the severity of your symptom so that we may help you obtain affordable diagnostic (already have a symptom) imaging and treatment when indicated.

By the time a woman feels a breast lump, the tumor is likely to be larger or more aggressive than if the breast lump had been found on a screening mammogram, and therefore the chance of surviving breast cancer may decrease. Breast cancer prevention is an important factor in detecting breast cancers when they are small before they can be felt. That’s why obtaining a screening mammogram every one to two years is important starting by age 40 in most women. For some women with a strong family history of breast cancer, your physician may recommend that you start yearly mammograms earlier. Additional imaging studies such as breast MRI may be performed to complement the screening mammogram in high-risk women with a strong family history of breast cancer. Breast MRI imaging studies need to be approved by your insurance company, which we can assist in obtaining. Breast MRIs are also performed in women with a new diagnosis of breast cancer before surgery to help the surgeon plan the procedure.

The Women’s Imaging Center uses the highest-rated digital mammography systems made by Hologic, GE, and Siemens.

The Women’s Imaging Center offers 3D mammograms, breast ultrasound, pelvic ultrasound, abdominal ultrasound, breast MRI, pelvic MRI, shoulder MRI, Knee MRI, brain MRI, spine MRI, thyroid ultrasound, thyroid fine needed biopsy, nonsurgical breast biopsy, stereotactic breast biopsy, ultrasound-guided breast biopsy, breast cyst aspiration, and other imaging services at affordable out-patient cost dedicated Women’s Imaging Centers in Denver/Cherry Creek, West/Lakewood, South/Highlands Ranch, and North/Westminster.

Call 303-321-CARE (2273) to schedule an appointment or make an on-line appointment request.

The Women’s Imaging Center is committed to providing individualized, innovative, state-of-the-art healthcare to women.

Kelly McAleese
by Kelly McAleese