A mammogram is a detection tool, meaning you already have cancer before it is detected. Yes, you could catch it early but let’s talk about why Black women are dying at a higher rate. What’s exacerbating the toxic load on Black women? Could the fact that the obesity rate of Black women is almost at 60%? Could it be that 40% of Black and Hispanic parents are food insecure? What do food insecure obese people eat? Obesogenic chemicals that are also known carcinogens.
Black women tend to get breast cancer at younger ages, but increasing mammograms does not fix this issue. I am convinced health disparities are financed by the government. Money was found for vaccine access but food apartheid exists in this country. What is the lifetime value of a Black woman for the system following the status quo compared to a healthy Black woman not dependent on the medical system? The opportunity cost of actually financing prevention is too high apparently.
Black people in this country are subjected to a larger amount of stress and pollution (internal and external) and unsafe conditions, which wear on the body. They age faster. They are likely to have more health problems — heart disease, high blood pressure, respiratory ailments — because of the constant assault of stress (physical and emotional).
Build back better with prevention. Finance eradicating food deserts, eliminating homelessness because one needs a kitchen to make healthy meals, and instituting UBI (universal basic income) so more people can have agency to make wellness decisions for themselves.
The system makes money from people being in an emergency. It takes 7 years for type 2 diabetes to develop and 10 years for cancer to show on screening tests. Year 1 we could be focused on reversing the trend naturally but that does not financially feed the system. You can do a mammogram every year and still get cancer eating carcinogens.
Chicago, one of the most segregated cities in the country, had one of the worst breast cancer death gaps between white and Black residents. In 2008, a Black woman diagnosed with breast cancer was 62% more likely to die of the disease. This is directly linked to the legacy of redlining. Read the Color of Law. Grocery stores left these same neighborhoods to follow white people to the suburbs when Black people moved in. Another legacy of redlining – many majority-Black neighborhoods suffer from entrenched poverty. These are places that need health food stores the most but I bet you won’t see them.
There is so much we could do if there was political will to do it. Black people who are taking control of their health are reading How Not to Die to make sure they are not a statistic and working on stacking their paper to save themselves, their families, and their communities. We have to do it because the government is dragging its feet.