When you look at the death statistics for breast cancer in African-American women and compare them to white women, it’s stunning. Beginning in their 20s, into their 50s, black women are twice as likely to die of breast cancer as white women who have breast cancer. In older black women, cases of breast cancer decline, but the high death rates persist.
Overall, breast cancer deaths have been declining for nearly a decade (by 2 percent annually), yet deaths of African-American women have been dropping at a much slower pace. In 2009, over 40,170 women died from breast cancer. Nearly 6,000 will be African-American women.
What can you do to cut those risks?
1. Limit yourself to two or three alcoholic drinks a week
Alcohol, consumed even in small amounts, is believed to increase the risk of breast cancer. Most doctors recommend cutting back on wine, beer, and hard liquor.
A recent study showed the link between drinking and breast cancer was especially strong in the 70% of tumors known as hormone-sensitive.
2. Exercise at least three to four times a week
And when you do exercise, work to keep your heart rate above its baseline level for a minimum of 20 continuous minutes. Long walks are nice too, but it’s the more vigorous exercise (expect to sweat!) that really helps your heart and cuts your cancer risk.
3. Maintain your body weight, or lose weight if you’re overweight
Research shows that being overweight or obese (especially if you’re past menopause) increases your risk, especially if you put on the weight as an adult. And a study released in March 2008 by researchers at the University of Texas…