Asian American Women and Breast Cancer: PLEASE Help Spread the Word About Importance of Screening!
I met Chien-Chi Huang through social media and she reached out to me about Asian women and the Breast Cancer Project. My mother is a breast cancer survivor, so I wanted to post her story in the hope that it raises awareness and helps to prevent it through screening.
My name is Chien-Chi Huang and I was diagnosed with breast cancer just few months after I turned 40. I was shocked when given the bad news because I thought only white women or old women could get breast cancer. I was even more surprised to learn that many Asian American women I knew had breast cancer, but nobody talked about it.
In fact, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Asian American women and the leading cancer cause among Chinese, Filipino, Japanese and Korean women. Yet when compared to other racial groups, Asian American women have the lowest screening service utilization rate. Language and cultural barriers often prevent people from seeking proper, timely treatment and support, which have a great impact on the survival outcomes.
Many still suffer in silent, feeling isolated and stigmatized.
Cancer is a subject no one wants to talk about, and it is especially hard for Asian Americans to come forward and speak about it. Therefore, it is even more important for people to see others who beat the disease and hear about the resources available in the community.
I am very grateful as I have the second chance to live a productive life. I believe we could save lives by recruiting and retaining Asian American women for early detection services. As a prevention health worker, I understand that personal stories can be a powerful tool to change people’s perception, attitude and behaviors. My ultimate goal is to empower others to dispel myth, reduce disparities and bring hope to fellow Asian American women by sharing their cancer experience and breast health related information.* With the support from the
Massachusetts Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure ® and the Saffron Circle, I will work with health facilities and community based organizations to conduct culturally appropriate educational workshops in the Asian American communities. The project is also funded in part by a matching grant from Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy.
To realize this vision, I need your help to recruit and encourage Asian American women to get involved in the Asian Breast Cancer project’s free workshops.
For the sake of our mothers, daughters and dear friends: please forward this to whoever might be interested in taking part of this effort to raise breast health awareness in the Asian American communities!
I hope you will consider donating your time, talents and resources by contacting me at: abcH2H@gmail.com or (617) 870-4056. Thanks for your attention and I look forward to hearing from you.
* This goal is inspired by the Asian & Pacific Islander National Cancer Survivors Network’s mission to minimize the burden of cancer and improve the quality of life of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders by dispelling myths, reducing disparities and providing hope.
Dear Friends and Families,
Six years ago this time, I just finished my chemo and about to have a mastectomy. My life turned upside down and yet I learned so much about myself and the people around me: I learned that one cannot go on without the
support of her family and friends no matter how strong she thinks she is!
I wish to thank you all for helping me during my road to recovery and I hope I can be helpful to the others just like you did for me.
This year I am organizing a team to participate at the Komen Race on Sunday, 10/30 and I hope to raise additional $1,000 in the next 3 days – would you please make a contribution and help promote our cause via your network (please see attached for some info regarding the Asian Breast Cancer Project and a factsheet)?
Here’s the link to my teampage:
Facts Asian & Pacific Islander American Women Need to Know About Their Risk
- Cancer is the leading cause of death of Asian & Pacific Islander (A&PI) women in the United States, with breast cancer as the most common.
- Cancer deaths are increasing faster among A&PI Americans than any other U.S. ethnic or racial group.
- U.S. A&PI rates of invasive breast cancer have increased approximately 1.2 % every year between 1988 and 2005, and have yet to decline.
- Although breast mortality rates have declined among every other U.S. racial groups, they have increased among A&PI women.
- Among A&PI women, compared to others, breast cancer has been found to show a relatively younger median age at diagnosis and early tumor onset.
- Breast cancer rates among U.S. A&PI women are 60% higher than those found in the same women’s A&PI home countries.
- Immigrant A&PI women who have been living in the United States for 10 years have an 80% higher risk of developing breast cancer than their newly-arrived A&PI immigrant counterparts.
- Despite the misconception that A&PI women don’t get breast cancer, the incidence rate of breast cancer among South Asian women living in the United States—along with 3rd and 4th generation Japanese and Chinese American women—reaches that of U.S. white women.
- A&PI American women have very low rates of breast cancer screening, which increases their chances of later stage disease presentation. Multiple studies consistently show that A&PI women over 40 obtain regular mammograms at the lowest rate of any U.S. racial/ethnic group—rates are even lower for low income and recent immigrant women.