Black women more likely to die from breast cancer; health experts urge yearly mammograms

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For women, breast cancer death rates are higher than any other cancer besides lung cancer. But for Black women, their chances of dying from breast cancer is higher than any other race.

It’s been nearly a decade since Ollie Moss talked to her friend, Glenda Stone.

“We talked all the time,” Ollie Moss said. “And we did things together. We took walks together.”

The inseparable pair were friends for years, until Stone died from stage four metastatic breast cancer.

“Quite naturally I was pretty sad because I lost my best friend,” Moss said.

Stone’s story is no stranger to women in the Black community.

Dr. Linda Harrison, a radiologist at Diagnostic Imaging Centers, said white women are more likely to have breast cancer, but Black women are 40% more likely to die from it.

“The best defense we have again is finding breast cancer early,” Harrison said. “If we find it early, there’s a 99% chance of curing that breast cancer.”

Harrison urges Black women to know their family history and to start having yearly exams by their primary doctor as early as 20. Women 40 and older should be getting a yearly mammogram instead.

Knowing that if you are an insured patient, if you have health insurance, the mammogram is covered without any cost to you,” Harrison said. “That’s really important.”

And there are options for women in Kansas and Missouri without insurance, too.

Moss just hopes her best friend’s story will help save a life and bring awareness to women in the Black community.

Harrison said it’s safe for women to get the vaccine and mammogram, too.

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