Black women and breast cancer: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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The Avon Foundation for Women released a new study on Wednesday that found that the disparity between black and white women for breast cancer mortality rates is climbing.

The study was conducted by the Sinai Urban Health Institute in collaboration with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and looked at the 50 largest U.S. cities between 2005 and 2014. According to their findings, black women are dying from breast cancer at a higher rate than black women, and what’s more, the disparity between mortality rates is on the rise.

“Avon Foundation recognized early on that there was a significant need to understand these racial disparities in order to focus efforts and resources where they are most needed,” said Cheryl Heinonen, President of the Avon Foundation for Women. “As the company for women, Avon puts women at the center of everything we do. This is part of our DNA, our history and our legacy to empower women and improve the quality of life of women. And this requires collaboration at all levels.”

Of the cities studied, Atlanta experienced the largest increase in its disparities, with significant increases in Memphis, Philadelphia and Boston as well.

“It was important to note that some individual cities have shown a decreasing disparity and there is much we can learn from those that are doing well,” said Dr. Marc S. Hurlbert of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and former Executive Director of the Avon Foundation for Women. “However, the Black:White disparity in breast cancer mortality still exists and needs to be addressed as a public health problem.”

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