Black and white women are about equally likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer. Beyond that, there are dramatic differences in breast cancer stats.

Black women have the lowest survival rate after a breast cancer diagnosis. The 5-year survival rate for white women is 92%. For Black women, it’s 81%. 

There are many reasons for this disparity. Several are rooted in systemic racism, which affects income, insurance, and healthcare access. 

Black women are more likely to be diagnosed at later stages of breast cancer. Medicaid expansion is associated with better mammogram access. Mammograms help to diagnose breast cancer at earlier stages. Earlier stages have more treatment options and better outcomes.

There’s a move away from seeing “race” as a risk factor. It’s really not biological differences that make breast cancer more deadly — racism is what truly puts People of Color at risk. Medical training programs are starting to highlight racism as a cause of poor health. 

There’s still so much to do to equalize breast cancer care for all. Too many Black women are dying of breast cancer. Here are some of the reasons why and what’s being done about it.