Breast cancer deaths are higher for Black women; Susan G. Komen MORE THAN PINK Walk raises awareness

NOW: Breast cancer deaths are higher for Black women; Susan G. Komen MORE THAN PINK Walk raises awareness

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we're learning more about how the disease is impacting women in Milwaukee. Data shows that Black women face a higher risk of death.

Thirty-one percent of Black women who are diagnosed with breast cancer die from the disease. That's the highest rate of any other racial or ethnic group.

"It is the number one killer of African American women, according to the CDC across the country," said Bailey Coleman.

After her two sisters and aunt survived breast cancer, Coleman became a long-time advocate. "It's almost been a silent killer in our culture, and we can't have that anymore," she said.

In Milwaukee, data shows that while white women are more likely to get breast cancer, more Black women are dying from it. "There are all sorts of reasons for that. All sorts of disparities," said Coleman.

Access to health care, financial resources, and historical mistrust of health care keeps many women of color from early detection.

"Where a person lives, how a person lives, should not determine if they live, and that is what is happening in our city and beyond," said Nikki Panico, executive director at Susan G. Komen Wisconsin.

The Susan G. Komen MORE THAN PINK Walk hopes to raise awareness and funds to help support and educate.

"We need to make a change so that every single individual who is diagnosed has equal access to the best doctors, to the best insurance, to quality health care...to financial support," said Panico, who is a breast cancer survivor herself.

Coleman says for Black women, the conversations about the disease need to be had at home. "In most African American families, not only have we been touched by breast cancer, but also we didn't talk about it...for years it was not talked about," she said.

Coleman says now is the time to change that. "Have those conversations...even if it's just a little bit at a time. At least you're breaking the ice," she explained.

The Susan G. Komen MORE THAN PINK walk kicks off at Summerfest grounds on Sunday at 9 a.m. Click here to register.

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