Breast Cancer Mortality Among African American Women

Breast Cancer Mortality Among African American Women

By: LarLeslie McDaniel Community Resource Advocate at Susan G. Komen Orange County

Did you know that breast cancer is the most common kind of cancer among women in the African American community?

Did you also know that African American women have a breast cancer mortality rate that is 41 percent higher than their Caucasian counterparts?

This is simply unacceptable!

As the Community Resource Advocate at Komen OC, I’m responsible for leading the African American Breast Health Equity Initiative and the Circle of Promise campaign.

“My goal is to encourage discussions regarding breast health and screening behavior, and improve overall breast cancer outcomes in African American women.”

So, the big question is, why do the outcomes for African American women differ so much from Caucasian women?

Research indicates that African American women are often diagnosed at later stages with more aggressive forms of cancer at younger ages.

The issues of high-mortality rates and late stage diagnosis among African American women is not something that will be resolved without people (from most every field) and resources (money) that are truly dedicated see changes and save lives.  This will take time.  Structural and systematic racism has had a lasting effect on health and trust in minority communities.  This coupled with other social, cultural, financial and geographic barriers has drastically affected health outcomes for many years.

Komen OC is committed to continuing to be visible (through community outreach), available (providing resources and referrals) and vocal (educational forums, Ambassadors and advocates) in the community.

Our team here at Komen OC continues to provide resources to combat these disparities in care and we encourage you do to the same for your loved ones:

  • Spread the word about warning signs and symptoms
  • Promote screenings and early detection
  • Encourage genetic counseling and testing
  • Share information about clinical trials

Additionally, we also encourage Orange County community members to join the African American Health Equity Initiative Community Partnership also called the “Circle of Promise” (COP).

We can reduce the breast cancer mortality rate of African American women and usher in a new era of early detection and quality care. We must be advocates for our own breast health and spread the word throughout our community about the importance of breast care and early detection.



LarLeslie McDaniel is responsible for leading the African American Breast Health Equity Initiative and the Circle of Promise, a California Initiative established to activate the community and help improve breast cancer outcomes in African American women. She also provides leadership to the African American Breast Health Network Partnership, which assists in the development, implementation and evaluation of breast health education in Orange County.