Breast Cancer among Caucasian Women

One’s race can be classified by the individual in question because it is said to be unrelated to one’s genetics.  Race is not a completely scientific classification because it is hard to determine based on blood tests or other medical tests.  Therefore, the difference between one’s genetics and one’s race, is the ability to identify scientifically one’s background.  Genetics are used to help classify humans based on their biological composition.  Although humans may choose to classify themselves as part of a race that is not obvious based on outward appearance, the majority of people can be classified into a race without having to ask them what race they identify themselves with.  Now the question of one’s health comes into question because the combination of one’s genetics and race form a predictor of what disease a person may encounter in his life.  For example, the U.S. Pima are a race of people with similar genetics, but the unfortunate problem with their specific race and gene makeup is that they are more susceptible to type 2 diabetes.  In summary, one’s genetics (a scientifically proven fact) along with one’s race (an occasionally debatable descriptor) can come together to project one’s health.

Breast Cancer Graph

I identify with the “Caucasian woman” title because I am not a foreigner, and I do not associate with any religion.  Breast cancer is obviously a well known illness, but many people do not realize that the race it most affects is that of Caucasian women.  I believe that breast cancer has spread among Caucasian women this much because it is an illness that many women are able to survive through, and those same women end up having children thereby passing down their genes.  The fact that it is prevalent among Caucasian women more than any other race may be because many Caucasian women are religious and therefore feel an obligation to have many children, meaning they pass their genes onto more offspring.

Citation:

“Incidence and Morality of Breast Cancer by Race,” Halls MD, accessed July 10, 2014, http://www.breast-cancer.ca/survival-statistics/race-incidence-mortality.htm.

This Post Has 1 Comment

  1. Emily Tassoni says:

    I think your perspective on why breast-cancer is more prominent in Caucasian women is very insightful. It is a great example of how lifestyle and cultural choices of a certain race combined with the transfer of genes can make illness higher in some races than others. As you noted race and genetics are not directly related. Genes are not affected by race, however race depends on genetics. Since everyone of every race has the same set of genes, it is the different combinations of the same genes that give the outward characteristics that we as humans attribute to race. Race is purely a cultural, religious, and political entity that people created to identify groups with similar looks, culture, and/or beliefs. Many times it is non-genetic factors that are attributed to why illness and race are related. One non-genetic factor to consider is socioeconomic status. As we know in the U.S. today, a majority of the impoverished population are minorities, therefore as a race they are more likely to have illness related to stress, lack of healthy food and exercise resources, and lack of clean air or living spaces. However there may be reasons that certain diseases follow race that do have something to do with genetics; since many people of one race share common ancestors, they may have a genetic predisposition to be more prone to a certain illness
    I think racial categorization in clinical studies can sometimes be useful, but not always. Every individual is different regardless of race so using the blanket assumptions of race on someone who deviates from the racial norm is not effective. However it is useful when a quick decision or assumption must be made on a health issue if the suspected condition is one common of a race, as it may save time and resources on making a diagnosis that is likely correct based solely on race.

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