African American women face both disproportionate exposure to breast carcinogens and the highest risk of serious health impacts from the disease.
Breast cancer has the highest mortality rate of any cancer in women between the ages of 20 and 59.
African American women have a 31% breast cancer mortality rate – the highest of any U.S. racial or ethnic group.
Among women younger than 45, breast cancer incidence is higher among African American women than White women.
Younger women in general, and younger African American women in particular, are more likely to present with the triplenegative subtype of the disease, a subtype that is both more aggressive and associated with a higher mortality.
Over the past 20 years, despite the universal drop in mortality rates, we have seen a rise in the incidence of breast cancer in African American women. In particular, disparities between mortality rates for white and black women have grown significantly. The mortality rate for Black women diagnosed with breast cancer is 42% higher than the comparable rate for White women. Triple negative breast cancer is diagnosed more often in American women of African descent than in those of European descent in the United States.
Younger African American Woman diagnosed with breast cancer face issues that may significantly impact their quality and length of life. These issues are often amplified for those diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and include:
Aggressive forms of cancer: Younger AA Women are generally diagnosed with more aggressive forms of breast cancer with higher fatality rates.
Lack of research: As the incidence of young adults with breast cancer is much lower than in older women, young women are often underrepresented in research studies.
Financial challenges: Breast cancer can dramatically impact a young adult’s financial stability due to workplace issues, lack of sufficient health insurance and the cost of cancer care.
Body image: It is challenging for some to embrace their new body after breast cancer-related surgery and/or side effects of medically induced menopause.
Too many times, African American Women are diagnosed with this disease and are not provided continual support throughout the duration of their fight. We cannot continue to allow our sisters to fight alone. We will fight these challenges TOGETHER in HOPE!
My Pink Journey
In June 2018, at the age of 39, Tymika Chambliss, scheduled an appointment with her PCP, after finding a small lump in her right breast; from a self-breast exam. The PCP told her that she did not need to be concerned because what she was feeling was the density of her breast tissue. Still concerned, Tymika asked for a mammogram. That mammogram came back negative.
In October 2019, at the age of 40, Tymika had another mammogram. After comparing both mammograms, calcification was found in her right breast. She was scheduled for a biopsy and on December 26, 2019, she was diagnosed with DCIS- Stage 1 Breast Cancer.
After extensive research and consulting with her doctor and family, she made the tough decision to sever ties with her right breast. And, on June 3, 2020, Tymika had a full right-breast mastectomy.
During her recovery, she realized that there was a lack of resources, for Women of Color, in her city. She began researching potential resources in other cities and quickly found that there isn't a central location to find resources.
Are food vouchers available for breast cancer patients?
Do I qualify for WIC?
Are there free therapists?
Am I alone in this journey?
What should I eat?
How do I talk to my children about my diagnosis?
What to do when I am feeling overwhelmed?
Are there support groups in my city?
Are there prosthetic/mastectomy bras or undergarments?
I hate looking at myself in the mirror. Who can help me embrace my scars?
She encountered every feeling and asked every question, yet, her search for answers and support came up short. So, what did she do? She created The HOPE Factory!
Pain always leaves a gift
We believe that ALL women, who have been diagnosed with any form of breast cancer, should have access to proper health and mental care, financial assistance, and a safe place for support.
The mission of The HOPE Factory is to provide a virtual platform of resources and support for Black Women who are breast cancer patients, previvors, survivors, thrivers, caregivers, and family members.
The vision of The HOPE Factory is to partner with Black women's health organizations, physicians, psychiatrists, spiritual counselors, financial organizations, and others to ensure Black women have full access to resources that are essential to their health as they fight for their lives.
No Black Woman Left Behind!