What Minorities Need to Know About Current Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines

What Minorities Need to Know About Current Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines

What Minorities Need to Know About Current Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines

By Dr. Gulshan S. Harjee, MD

Every April, the American Cancer Society, and other organizations work together to raise awareness around cancer amongst minorities. National Minority Cancer Awareness Week is celebrated this week (April 15.) The Georgia Breast Cancer Coalition supports these efforts and would like to help our minority communities know a little more about breast cancer screening guidelines. A recent research report published in the journal, JAMA Surgery, showcases the current problems with breast cancer screening guidelines for minorities.

Current Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines are Based on Scientific Data from White Women

Researchers like David Chang from the Massachusetts General Hospital’s department of surgery believe that the scientific research process has been neglected in developing breast cancer screening guidelines. Much of the data collected has been from white women, and this bias could lead to delayed detection in minorities.

Minorities are at Higher Risk of Developing Breast Cancer at Earlier Age

The U.S. Preventive Task Force recommends breast cancer screening for women at age 50 with average risk. Researchers worked with the U.S. National Cancer Institute to analyze data from women aged 40 to 75 who were diagnosed with breast cancer between 1973 and 2010.

The data showed that the average age at diagnosis for white women was 59, 56 for black women, 55 for Hispanic women, and 46 for Asian women. They also looked at the % of patients diagnosed before 50 and found 31% were black, 35% were Hispanic, 33% were Asian, and 24% were white. Researchers believe that the data shows that minorities need to start breast cancer screening sooner than 50.

Conclusion and What to Do

These new findings and analysis on breast cancer screening are enlightening for minorities to make better decisions at the right time. Minorities are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer earlier, and as a result, should start testing much earlier than age 50 which is recommended.

Visit the resources below for more information on breast cancer screening.



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First Breast Cancer Genetic Test

FDA Approves First Breast Cancer Genetic Test From 23andMe

In a landmark decision, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first ever breast cancer genetic test developed by leading at-home genetics company, 23andMe. People will now have the ability to test themselves at home for genetic risk factors connected to ovarian and breast cancer without their doctor’s permission. The approved at home genetic test will look for three mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.

While the news of an at home BRCA test is exciting, we should take notice of the cautions and stipulations that came with the FDA’s announcement.

The Test is Not a One Size Fits All

While the test does look at 3 mutations, there have been over 1,000 mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA 2 genes identified so far. On top of that, the mutations tested for in the 23andMe test are not very common and according to the FDA only found in about 2% Ashkenazi Jewish women.

In a press release from 23andMe, they do look at this authorization as an important step in the right direction. Christine Pai, communications manager at 23andMe, told Newsweek that people who carry one of these three mutations have up to an 85% chance of developing breast cancer before 70.

Experts Caution About Using Test For Health Decisions

The FDA stated in their press release that citizens should not use this test to make substantial healthcare decisions. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended against testing for BRCA in women who do not have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer.

​“While the detection of a BRCA mutation on this test does indicate an increased risk, only a small percentage of American carry one of these three mutations, and most BRCA mutations that increase an individual’s risk are not detected by this test.”
​Donald St. Pierre – Director of Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Health

The CEO of 23andMe, Anne Wojcicki, does echo the concerns of the FDA. She believes it is important to understand that the majority of cancer is not hereditary. The 23andMe test does not look for all the genetic variants of BRCA, and people should continue with recommended cancer screenings.

Inspired by http://www.newsweek.com/fda-approves-first-ever-breast-cancer-genetic-test-home-use-landmark-decision-832392

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A Special Thank You! | Georgia Breast Cancer Coalition Fund

A Special Thank You!

On behalf of everyone in the GABCC family, we would like to send our deepest condolences to Mr. Ron Johnson on the passing of his dear wife Mrs. Judith Whipple Johnson.

In her honor, we have received so many generous donations. We are so thankful and will work tirelessly to help, assist, and advocate for Breast Cancer Patients and Survivors in Georgia.

A special thanks to:

Betty Hurst
Sally Forest
Senator and Mrs. Bonnie Perdue
Madison County Republican Party
Rabun County Republican Party
Glasstech Services Inc.
Lynn Almand
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Georgia Breast Cancer Retreat Scheduled

The Georgia Breast Cancer annual retreat is scheduled for January 20, 2018.  We are always excited about this Board requirement so we can plan out all the exciting things Georgia Breast Cancer will be doing for 2018.

This Year

This year, the Georgia Breast Cancer plans on working more with patients, and funding medical and diagnostic testing for women and men who have had abnormal mammograms and need additional testing.  We will also be working with lymphadema patients, and working towards providing them with the sleeves they so badly need.

In addition to the good work we have planned, we are going to increase our Board presence by adding new Board members, and have our Board visit the community more often.  We will also be building new partnerships so we can spread awareness, and help raise funds to assist more patients with transportation, tests, groceries, and whatever else they need to relieve some of the stress they have.

Georgia Breast Cancer will also continue its advocacy this year with a visit to the State Capital.  We are working with Pfizer to help facilitate a luncheon, and support various bills that can help breast cancer patients.

Lastly, we will be scheduling more fundraisers this year and are always looking for donations of gift cards, cash and silent auction items.  Feel free to contact Jennie Palmer, our Executive Director if you can help.

2018 is going to be GREAT!

Sheryl Cherico, President

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Georgia Breast Cancer Coalition

GABCC Funds Ultrasounds for 10 Georgia Breast Cancer Patients

The Georgia Breast Cancer Coalition had a great and productive meeting at DeKalb Medical on Monday.

The meeting centered on what GABCC could do to help breast cancer patients at DeKalb Medical. DeKalb Medical expressed that they have 10 women from their October screening that need an ultrasound follow up.  GABCC has committed to paying for these 10 ultrasounds. In addition, GABCC is looking into the opportunity to fund a much-needed biopsy for a DeKalb Medical breast cancer patient. GABCC is thrilled to partner with this incredible medical institution to serve Breast Cancer Patients in Georgia.

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Healthy Selfie




Share your #HealthySelfie. Follow three simple steps for a chance to win $500 for GABCC!

As the holiday season approaches and it’s time to consider what we have been grateful for in 2017, #GivingTuesday is a great time to start thinking of ways to give back our communities and the causes we care about.


This November 28, join us for #GivingTuesday and help GABCC  win $500 for getting supporters to post their #healthyselfie and selecting GABCC charity, should when you win.


You can also learn about six ways to give in addition to the contest.

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Sheryl Cherico, GABCC President on Atlanta NPR

Sheryl Cherico Participates in Rose Scott’s WABE 90.1 (Atlanta NPR) Radio Show

Sheryl Cherico, GABCC President, had the privilege to participate in Rose Scott’s WABE 90.1 (Atlanta NPR) radio show “Closer Look with Rose Scott” on Thursday, October 19th, 2017. Rose’s show goes from 1 pm to 2 pm and is about community issues. As part of October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a roundtable conversation sharing the personal journeys of, Eric Dunlap, Kirsta Davis and Sheryl J. Cherico. All three were diagnosed with breast cancer and are now in remission.

Listen to Sheryl on Atlanta NPR


Sheryl Cherico, GABCC President talks about GABCC on Atlanta NPR









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Falcons Honor GABCC Board Member

On Sunday, October 15, 2017 the Atlanta Falcons will honor breast cancer survivor and GABCC Board member, Nancy Whaley!

Each year, the Falcons select 10 nominees for their annual Dazzle and Dine event.  They will be honored at the game on Sunday, and they will also be taken to Jameson Shaw Salon for a day of pampering, and dinner that night with the Falcons!

Nancy is one of the longest standing Board members of GABCC and is extremely worthy of this honor.  Congratulations Nancy!!

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Brides Against Breast Cancer

Free Dress Giveaway

Share Your Story With Brides Against Breast Cancer

Be One of the Few to Choose from OVER 200 
FREE Designer Wedding Dresses.

In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month coming up in October, this September we want to honor brides who for one reason or another aren’t able to get the dress of their dreams. We have picked some wonderful dresses to give away for free. To potentially get one, we just want to hear more about you and your journey!

We hope that through this giveaway you will share our passion in funding breast cancer research, education, and advocacy by participating in your local breast cancer community and spreading the word about what we do and the work of our charity partners: Living Beyond Breast Cancer and The Georgia Breast Cancer Coalition.

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