Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Breast Cancer Health Center

Select An Article

Race, Ethnicity, and Breast Cancer Risk

Font Size
A
A
A

Does Race or Ethnicity Affect Breast Cancer Risk?

All women should be aware of their risk for breast cancer. It can affect women of every age, race, and ethnic group. However, the rates of developing and dying from breast cancer vary among different racial and ethnic groups.

According to the National Cancer Institute, white, non-Hispanic women have the highest overall incidence rate for breast cancer among U.S. racial/ethnic groups. Native Americans and native Alaskans have the lowest rate. Among women ages 40-50, African-American women have a higher incidence of breast cancer than white women. African-American women also have the highest death rate from breastcancer. Native Americans and native Alaskans, along with Asian-American women, have the lowest death rate.

Recommended Related to Breast Cancer

Girl's Guide to Preventing, Avoiding, Treating, and Even Beating Cancer

By Ashley Ross and Sophie Banay MouraCancer: The word alone can paralyze us. Instead of protecting ourselves, we resort to magical thinking—it won't happen to me. That's a mistake. Rates of the top five cancers in women 20 to 39—in order, they are breast, thyroid, melanoma, cervical, and colorectal—are rising. The good news: There's a lot you can do to prevent them. We talked to the country's top doctors and mined the latest research for Marie Claire's first-ever cancer crash course. Here, how to...

Read the Girl's Guide to Preventing, Avoiding, Treating, and Even Beating Cancer article > >

Several factors have been found to affect the breastcancer incidence and death rates among racial and ethnic groups. Differences in certain lifestyle behaviors -- such as diet, exercise, smoking, and alcohol use -- can influence the risk of many diseases, including heart disease and breast cancer.

The higher death rate from breast cancer among African American women has been linked to the stage, or extent, of the cancer at the time of diagnosis. Studies show that African-American women tend to seek treatment when their cancers are more advanced and there are less treatment options.

In addition, a higher percentage of African-Americans and Hispanics lack a usual source of health care, such as a primary care provider. Having a primary care provider increases the chance that a person will receive appropriate preventive care -- including routine check-ups and screenings -- that can detect disorders at an early stage.

There also are various factors that may contribute to the lower rates of routine and preventive health care among minority populations, including:

  • Socioeconomic factors. These include income level, lack of transportation, and lack of access to health insurance or health care facilities, including screening programs.
  • Language and communication barriers. These barriers can interfere with a person's ability to discuss health concerns and develop trust in a primary care doctor.
  • Education about or understanding of health care risks and symptoms. Women who are not aware of disease risks and symptoms are more likely to wait to seek treatment until they are in pain or their symptoms interfere with daily tasks.
  • Cultural practices and expectations. In some cultures, women may turn to traditional or "folk" remedies before seeking treatment from a physician.
  • Cultural or religious beliefs related to health and health care. Strong beliefs in healing and miracles, as well as distrust of the health care system may keep some people from participating in routine preventive care.

Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Breast Cancer Overview
From self-exams and biopsies to reconstruction, we’ve got you covered.
Dealing with breast cancer
Get answers to your questions.
 
woman having mammogram
Experts don’t agree on all fronts, but you can be your own advocate.
woman undergoing breast cancer test
Many women worry. But the truth? Most abnormalities aren’t breast cancer.
 
Breast Cancer Treatments Improving
VIDEO
Resolved To Quit Smoking
SLIDESHOW
 
Woman getting mammogram
Article
Screening Tests for Women
SLIDESHOW
 
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
serious woman
Article
 
what is your cancer risk
HEALTH CHECK
10 Ways to Revitalize Slideshow
SLIDESHOW