Let’s Talk About… Black Women and Breast Cancer 2020 – highlights from this year’s international event

2 minute read
Towards the end of 2020, we were honoured to sponsor the “Let’s Talk About… Black Women and Breast Cancer” conference for its second consecutive year.

Over the last decade, breast cancer care has come forward leaps and bounds. Yet, women from ethnic minority groups continue to face barriers to their care.

Research conducted this year indicates that Black women with breast cancer are more likely to start cancer treatment later than White women. Moreover, in many countries, Black women fare worse outcomes too.*

This year’s conference brought together an international community of patients and physicians to discuss these trends. Below are just a few video highlights from the event.

Disparities in breast cancer care in Australia - Dr Emilia Dauway MD

Only 3% of the Australian population comprises of Indigenous people, yet they live with far greater disease burden than other ethnic minority groups.

In this opening presentation, Dr Dauway – the co-inventor of Radioseeds – explained how cancer centers across Australia are working to acknowledge Indigenous culture and linguistic difference, to mark their healthcare settings as safe spaces – and ultimately improve outcomes.

Global perspectives on breast cancer - Dr Miriam Mutebi

Dr Mutebi is a breast surgical oncologist at Aga Khan University Hospital and one of the first surgeons to use the Sentimag® in Kenya.

During her talk, she shared her perspective on the barriers in access to breast cancer treatment that women currently face in sub-Saharan Africa, including socioeconomic factors. Dr Mutebi also discussed the regional innovations that Kenya has adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how it has offered the opportunity to rethink strategies on how care is delivered.

Experiences of genetic testing for BRCA in BAME cohorts - Dr Emma Wilson

Genetic mutations like BRCA can significantly increase your risk of breast cancer – yet studies show that BAME women are under-represented in testing for BRCA.

Dr Wilson, an authority in health inequalities, shared findings from her research, and explored why the design of the current genetic testing environment may fail to cater for BAME women.

Why breast cancer is the most fatal health issue for African American Women - Ricki Fairley

In the United States, Black women under 35 are twice as likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer. And over three quarters of these women are the primary economic providers for their families.

In this inspiring presentation, Ricki Fairley told how breast cancer is a “different disease” when experienced as a person of color, and shared her experience of founding TOUCH: The Black Breast Cancer Alliance.

Ricki has survived triple-negative breast cancer and is a member of the board of trustees for the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation where she works to garner publicity for breast cancer awareness.

We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who presented at this year’s meeting. We are looking forward to continuing these conversations throughout this year, learning more about how people experience breast cancer around the world and finding out what we can do to improve the patient journey. ♦

» You can watch all of the presentations from this year’s event here.

[*] Emerson, MA, et al. Breast cancer treatment delays by socioeconomic and health care access latent classes in Black and White women. Cancer. 2020. https://doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33121