Breast Cancer Among White Women



While genetics and race both play a role in determining one’s health, they do so in very different ways. Genes actually have nothing to do with race. One’s genes determine skin and hair color, height, and other physical features. Some people are more susceptible to certain diseases than others, and one’s genes play an important part in whether or not a person is likely to contract a certain illness. Race, on the other hand, is a culture or lifestyle that a group of people identifies with. Some say race has an even bigger role than genes in determining health, or rather the culture that someone of a particular race identifies with. How one is raised, their upbringing, their environment, and socioeconomic status are among the most important factors contributing to how healthy a person is. According to lecture, the Thrifty Genotype Hypothesis has been used to explain the fact of different cultures being more prone to certain illnesses. This theory involves the four types of evolution- genetic drift, mutation, natural selection, and gene flow. All of these occurrences within a population play a major role in whether or not that population is healthy.

The disease I chose to analyze is breast cancer. This disease is most prevalent among Caucasian women, a race I myself identify with. The reason for this could be a multitude of factors, most having to do with the lifestyle of most white women. White women drink more alcohol, have fewer children, and are less likely to breastfeed than women of other races. Breastfeeding can be very beneficial in reducing the risk of breast cancer. There are also a higher number of obese women that identify with the Caucasian race, which is another risk factor for breast cancer. However, something I also found very interesting is that while white women are more likely to have the disease, black women are more likely to die from it. This could be because, in many black communities, the women have poorer health care or insufficient funds, and they do not get diagnosed early enough or don’t receive proper treatment once they are diagnosed.

Medical News Today, “White women more prone to breast cancer because of lifestyle.” Last modified january 9, 2014. Accessed July 11, 2014.

National Cancer Institute, “Cancer Health Disparities.” Accessed July 11, 2014.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Lindsey Green says:

    You did an excellent job explaining how race, genetics, and health cooperate together. I would have to agree that race has nothing to do with genetics but wouldn’t you agree that some individuals connect race and health together? Certain types of races can acquire certain diseases based upon location of living over the past thousand years. I also agree that how one is raised is a contributing factor to how a healthy person is. They could have been brought up to think and treat certain ways. But how would you describe the costal West Africans? Over many years with dealing with malaria their bodies have formed a resistance to the disease by acquiring sickle cell. Would you not consider this a racial genetic formation?
    In clinical studies using racial categories is probably the best way to categorize individuals. Rather than using areas of land or groups of individuals races help categorize individuals better. One of the unnatural causes clips was about bad sugar and how Native Americans were more prone to diabetes based on their health. Another was When the Bough Breaks and this clip was about how African American women were more prone to delivering babies with premature birth weights. Using someones race is easier than saying this category of individuals were dealing with this amount of stress, because you can’t measure stress.

  2. Kayla Lumpkin says:

    Your post did a great job ob explaining breast cancer among white women, i learned a few things reading what you found. I find it quite interesting that you said genes does not have anything to do with race. In my post, I said the exact opposite. Your view makes sense, but I connected race and genetics given that there are different races that pass down certain genetic diseases because of the area that race originates from. Therefore, ones genes are somewhat derived from their ancestors and where they come from, which includes diseases and mutations that effect one’s health. This view of mine was the basis of my post, nonetheless, I do see where you are coming from and how your side could be interpreted. I also agree with you on your next point including other factors that affect our health. I failed to mention that a person’s lifestyle, upbringing, environment, and socioeconomic status contribute to how healthy a person is. They definitely go hand in hand as these are some of the most important factors that affect one’s health. I did learn something new reading your post too. I thought breast cancer was most common in black women, but I see now that statistics say they are more likely to die from it versus white women are more likely to be diagnosed. I believe that racial categories are extremely important in clinical studies because in order to find the proper and necessary care, we must include all things that could possibly alter results. We know that different races and cultures have a variety of health issues just from their location and access to the proper health care, so it is useful to consider racial categories. A way to talk about racialized health disparities is by making different cultures aware of other races’ health as well as our own.

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