Breast cancer is more prevalent in white American women than in any of the minority groups. Yet the highest mortality rate does not go to white american women, it goes to African American women. This difference has been attributed to a difference in health care between white and African American women. While the reason for the higher mortality rate of African American women has been stated, a reason for the high incidence rate in white women has not been given. I do not really know why white women seem to get breast cancer more frequently than other groups of women. It could be any number of factors. There could be genetic factors that play a role in the prevalence of the disease, or it could have something to do with there life style. I think one thing that could be a factor in the recorded occurrence of breast cancer is the same thing that makes mortality rates higher in African Americans, health care. I think there is a chance that, because white women are more likely to have health care, and better health care, they are more likely to have the cancer diagnosed. Where women of minority groups who are less likely to have health care, would not be diagnosed because they don’t go to the doctors. This would make it so that the white women may not have the highest incidence of breast cancer in the U.S., they might just have the highest incidence of diagnosed breast cancer. It all depends on whether the studies include women who died of breast cancer but were not diagnosed when they were alive.
The relationship between race and health seems to be that, while different races(cultures, populations, etc.) seem to be more likely to be affected by certain diseases than others, it does not mean that one race or another is more healthy than others. These disparities and anomalies in diseases result from many factors, especially cultural factors,but they can also arise because of someone’s genes. This does not mean that races are genetically different. African Americans have a high incidence of Sickle-Cell Anemia, much higher than other american groups. This is because of the prevalence of the sickle cell gene in Africa that became common because of it’s ability to combat the affects of malaria. So, African Americans are more likely to have the disease because they are descended from a population in which the gene was beneficial, although it is much less common in African Americans than in Africans today because the gene is not beneficial in the U.S. where we do not have a malaria problem. While African Americans are more likely to have sickle-cell anemia than other races and culture groups in the U.S, it could have been any group, malaria just happened to arise in Africa making the sickle cell gene beneficial and allowing it to thrive.
PBS: A Mutation Story