October marks National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Is there cause for celebration? For many reasons, the answer is a resounding "yes." Since 1990, the rate of death from breast cancer has been dropping. Research--much of it funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI)--has improved our understanding of breast cancer and produced more effective treatments (see also National Cancer Institute).
The picture for Hispanic women in the United States is mixed. Although Hispanic women are less likely to develop breast cancer than non-Hispanic white women, more than 17,100 Hispanic women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and more than 2,400 will die of the disease. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Hispanic women in the United States and the leading cause of cancer death in this group. Research shows that Hispanic women are more likely to be diagnosed after their breast cancer has progressed to a more advanced stage than non-Hispanic white women. And Hispanic women are more likely to die from their breast cancer as non-Hispanic white women diagnosed at the same age and stage.
The good news is that there is power in information. Get the facts. And, as always, talk with your health care provider about your concerns.
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