Illustrated by Austin Watts.
When it comes to breast cancer, the vast majority of black women will go undiagnosed until it's too late. In a revealing article done by The New York Times, Tara Parker-Pope tackles the growing racial divide in breast cancer survival.
She presents some staggering statistics that are, yes, illuminating, but also deeply unnerving. According to the article, 70% of white women will live, on average, five years after diagnosis; 56% of black women will do the same. Due to high cost of going to the doctors and getting a mammogram, many women will, unfortunately, never get screened. Parker-Pope focuses on Memphis' population for her article, citing various oncologists and doctors to highlight the growing racial gap.
"A large percentage of our African-American population is also poor," Kurt Tauer, an oncologist in the area explained, "and poor people don’t have the luxury of being sick." Even when covered under Medicare, Parker-Pope states that a JAMA study noted a significantly less number of black women see a primary care doctor every six to 18 months.
Luckily, awareness is rising in Memphis and more women are taking it upon themselves to get checked. "I had to get cancer to get health insurance," Mary Singleton told Parker-Pope. Through church coalitions and free clinics, the racial gap is slowly but surely decreasing. Though it won't happen overnight, it's through articles like this one that get the people going.
Read Parker-Pope's full essay here.