PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Mother’s Day is this Sunday and the annual Susan G. Komen More Than Pink Walk takes place to raise money and awareness in the fight against breast cancer. Black women are more likely to be diagnosed with more aggressive breast cancer at a younger age than white women.
Komen says it’s because of inequities that it’s aiming to overcome.READ MORE: WATCH: Penn Student Calls For Sixers To Fire Doc Rivers During Graduation Ceremony
Former biochemist turned lifestyle expert and social media influence Tomika Bryant is also a breast cancer survivor.
“I think for a lot of women, the first thing they think when they hear you have cancer is you’re gonna die,” Bryant said.
But that is the unfortunate reality for many Black women. They are 40% more likely to die from breast cancer than white women.
“I hate it. I mean, I absolutely hate it,” Bryant said.
Research shows Black women can face racism, discrimination, implicit bias, and lack of access for diagnosing and treating breast cancer.
“All of our systems have failed them and they continue to fail them at every step of their breast cancer journey,” Natasha Mmeje, Director of Community Education and Outreach for Susan G. Komen, said.
Mmeje says their research identified certain cities that can be especially challenging for Black breast cancer patients.
“Philadelphia is one of the top 10 cities where those huge disparities exist,” Mmeje said.READ MORE: Lt. Gov. John Fetterman Votes From Hospital With Emergency Absentee Ballot After Suffering Stroke
Komen has created a new program called Stand for HER, a health equity revolution to address the inequities.
“Komen is providing culturally competent patient navigation services that will empower patients and connect them to the needed care in their communities,” Mmeje said.
Bryant was recently named a Komen Scholar and is passionate about increasing breast cancer awareness.
“I want women to know to use their voice,” Bryant said. “That’s why you have it. Don’t let anybody dismiss you. If you feel like something’s not right, you need to act on it.”
She advises women to ask questions, find advocates, and get second opinions.
“As Black women, we’re tired, right? We’re tired of, you know, feeling disrespected, being dismissed,” Bryant said.
Bryant says she feels lucky that her background in science helped her know what to ask as she navigated treatment including surgery and chemotherapy.
Now she’s fighting for others.
“We all need a cure, and it’s just important that we treat everyone the same,” Bryant said.MORE NEWS: Poll Workers At Kimmel Center Say Pa. Primary Election Turnout Down Considerably From 2020 Presidential Campaign
Komen also helps ease the financial burdens that many Black breast cancer patients face. All about creating better equality in health care.