When it comes to cancer, African-Americans die at a higher rate with more complicated courses than their White counterparts regardless of socioeconomic status or prevalence. Indeed, Blacks have the shortest survival and highest death rate of most cancers.
In 1994 Dr. Mary-Claire King discovered the BRCA1 and BRCA2 breast cancer genes. In 1994 Myriad Genetics created the first commercial diagnostic test BRCA1/2 mutations. In 2003 the human genome is fully mapped. Since then, several other genes linked to various cancers have been discovered. Also, diagnostic testing and clinical application of these genes continue to increase every year.
Still, In addition to being screened at lower rates that whites, Black Americans remain largely unaware of their genetic cancer risk and still unlikely to get tested even when offered. There’s a myriad of multiple complex factors responsible for this including but not limited to the Social Determinants of Health, Structural Racism and Trust/Distrust of Healthcare.
However, this trend has to be changed. Hereditary Genetic Cancer Screening matters because it can be the catalyst for at risk patients to get targeted diagnostics, prevention and treatment strategies that can improve both morbidity and mortality. By simply filling out a chart and if necessary, getting a blood test you can save both your life and the lives of your family members.
Make family gatherings/ Screening Time
Get tested if eligible for screening
Screening save lives, money & suffering
Educate others about screening