Lindsay had her dream life when it happened. Keisha was in the best shape of her life when she received the news. Jasmine was only 28 at that time. What do these three women have in common? They were all women diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer.
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a subtype of breast cancer that tends to grow faster and is more likely to spread and recur after treatment compared to other subtypes of breast cancer. Black women are twice as likely as white women to develop this aggressive type of cancer, which is more common in people under 40, who are black or who BRCA1 Or BRCA2 Mutations.
Lyndsay, Keisha and Jazmine are recognized as hometown heroes as they go above and beyond to raise awareness and advocate for at-risk women in their communities through Merck’s Uncovering TNBC program. They joined Emmy-nominated TV host Nina Parker and 17-year TNBC survivor Maima Garmo of the TigerLily Foundation for an intimate discussion surrounding the disparities faced by Black women.
‘It is very important that there is more to be done…’
While the overall breast cancer death rate in the US has fallen 43% over the past 30 years, this is not true for black women who have 4% less breast cancer than white women, but 40% more. Breast cancer mortality rate. Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among black and Hispanic women in the United States. Among breast cancer patients, 10-15% have TNBC.
Health care disparities contribute to these statistics. Black women are more likely to experience adequate access to screenings, treatment and prevention, and educational information. Historical barriers in the health care system, including limited access to education and clinical trial enrollment, have a significant impact on outcomes for Black women.
As a nurse, Jasmine is able to see the disparities faced by black women through a dual lens. “I think when healthcare providers educate themselves about a patient’s culture, they can communicate better,” the Chicago resident said. “It’s important to take the time to find out where people are and meet them.” Since her diagnosis, Jasmine has started a podcast with other health professionals to share information with those at risk in her community.
“It is critical that more be done to improve care for Black women, especially those at risk for TNBC. The oncology community must come together to address the disparities that Black women face,” Maima said. “This includes improving access to screenings, ensuring equitable access to treatment, and comprehensive education and support.” It includes delivery.”
Knowing when to put yourself first
When Nina’s mom first told her she had breast cancer, she felt her mom pull away. Later, she learns that her mother, the emotional rock of the family, is not as capable of caring for others as she always was.
“It was the first time my mom put herself first,” Nina shared.
It’s not uncommon for black women to prioritize the needs and wants of others, even when it comes to their own health. “Being black women, we have to be very strong, we’re always there for others and we don’t ask for what we need,” Jasmine shared. “You have to be open and honest about your needs during treatment. Once we become more comfortable sharing our needs, we can go further.
Keisha experienced this when she was diagnosed with cancer in her 50s. Along with children, husband and career, she struggled to manage her treatment and be a caregiver. “I felt guilty because I knew I should be taking care of myself, but at the same time, I was worried about them.” A Bay Area local has found her own version of self-care by sharing her story with others through social media.
The power of storytelling
“There needs to be more advocacy with storytelling and more sharing for the people who live at TNBC so that we are not left in the dark about how we live and care,” Lindsay said.
When Lindsey was diagnosed with TNBC at age 37, she was working as a television journalist in New York City and didn’t have the family or support systems she needed during treatment, so she moved back to Houston, Texas. Her experience inspired her to create an organization to create a community for women with cancer.
Sharing these stories is just the beginning. Uncovering TNBC provides resources that provide awareness, support and connection to help women advocate for themselves. arrival DiscoverTNBC.com Learn more.