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Article title: Breast Cancer and Asian American-Pacific Islander Women: NWHIC
Conditions: Breast Cancer
How common is breast
cancer in Asian American / Pacific Islander (AAPI) women?
Are many AAPI women dying from breast cancer?
Why do rates vary between groups?
What can AAPI women do to protect themselves from breast cancer?
What if I canít afford a mammogram?
What if the mammogram shows a possible cancer?
Breast cancer is less common in AAPI women than it is in Caucasian or Black women. However, more AAPI women have breast cancer than do women of Hispanic or American Indian/Alaska Native descent. In addition, from 1990 to 1997 the number of AAPI women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer has increased significantly.
Among all other populations in the United States, AAPI women have the lowest breast cancer mortality rate. However, among certain groups within the AAPI population, death rates from breast cancer are significantly higher than among other ethnic populations. For example, Native Hawaiians have the highest mortality rate for any racial/ethnic group in the Unites States. In addition, breast cancer is the leading cause of death among Filipino women.
We canít answer this for certain. However, among all ethnic populations in this country, AAPI women are the least likely to have ever had a mammogram. Some groups of AAPI women may have better access to health care and a stronger cultural tradition to seek screening.
To improve their chances of surviving breast cancer, AAPI women can take an active part in the early detection of breast cancer by having regular mammograms and clinical breast exams (breast exams performed by health professionals). Studies show that mammograms reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer. The National Cancer Institute recommends that women in their forties and older have mammograms on a regular basis, every 1 to 2 years. Some women also perform breast self-exams every month.
Women should also talk with their doctor about factors that can increase the risk for breast cancer (a family history, for example). Women of any age who are at higher risk for this disease should ask their doctor when to begin and how often to have screening mammograms and breast exams.
All states and territories of the United States have programs that cover the cost of mammograms if your insurance does not. Contact the American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345 to locate these services in your community. You can also go to the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionís National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program Web site at https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/nbccedp to find out where you can get a free or low-cost mammogram and pap test in your are
Most abnormal changes on a mammogram are not cancer. First, your doctor will do a biopsyótake a piece of tissue from the breast to look at it under a microscope. If it is cancer, women now have more treatment options and hope for survival than ever before. The treatment options for each woman depend on the size and location of the tumor in her breast, the results of lab tests (including hormone receptor tests), and the stage (or extent) of the disease. To develop a treatment plan to fit each patient's needs, the doctor also considers a woman's age and menopausal status, her general health, and the size of her breasts.
Women can gather up-to-date treatment information, including information about current clinical trials, by calling the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/nbccedp
Cancer Information Service,
Office on Women's Health
Pick Your Path to Health
Steps you can take to improve your health
American Cancer Society,
Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum
National Asian Women's Health Organization
Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation,
All material contained in the FAQs is free of copyright restrictions, and may be copied, reproduced, or duplicated without permission of the Office on Women's Health in the Department of Health and Human Services; citation of the source is appreciated.
Publication date: April 2001
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