BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — According to the CDC black women have a 41% higher breast cancer mortality rate than white women. That’s why Carrie's Touch hosted a webinar Thursday, to shed light on, breast cancer rates within the black community.
“In general, for health care disparities within Black Americans it’s multifaceted there are multiple factors that could be playing a role in that,” said Dr. Marcher Thompson, radiation oncologist at the AIS Cancer Center.
Thompson said access to care, fear of going to the doctor, and finances can all play a role, but she said playing the waiting game can really be detrimental.
“Cancer is something where the earlier it's found the better,” said Thompson.
Dr. Ravi Patel director of medical oncology & hematology at the Comprehensive Blood & Cancer center said early detection is why he and his colleagues at CBCC offer free mammograms year-round.
According to Patel, one in eight women in Kern County will get breast cancer.
“We are particularly committed to this, and we feel there should be no patient or no individual who needs a mammogram and cannot get it done,” said Patel.
Dr. Patel said that black women are particularly susceptible to cancer so it’s important to screen early.
“We’ve seen breast cancer in 25-year-olds and younger so if you feel a breast lump you gotta make sure you get it checked out,” said Patel.
Thompson said screening is the best way to check for breast cancer but there are some things you can look out for.
“They may feel a lump or see some swelling, sometimes the skin can look a little wrinkled or swollen, and also and also the nipple can become inverted,” said Thompson.
Thompson also said encouraging someone to go as well is beneficial.
“If it were me, if it were my mother if it were my sister or my best friend, I would strongly recommend screening,” said Thompson.
Starting October 1st Dignity Health, Mercy, and Memorial Hospital, in partnership with multiple organizations, will offer free mammogram screenings.
Through the event dignity health is hoping to raise awareness of the disease. They also said when it comes to breast cancer, early detection is key to saving lives. Still, Angelica Montano at dignity understands why women don’t want to get a breast exam.
“A lot of it is fear a lot of them they don't have insurance, they don't have health care they don't have a primary care physician, and a lot of the time they don't know they're supposed to get a mammogram at 40 and that’s why we have classes education,” said Montano.
In addition to the mammograms, Montano said they will also provide free health screenings including blood glucose, blood pressure, among others.
Montano said they will provide free education courses on breast cancer all month long
The event will be from 9 am-2:00 pm at Ramon Garza Elementary School. But, to schedule a free mammogram appointment Montano recommends calling the dignity health community wellness center at 661-323-3238.