New federal guidelines aim to help women with breast cancer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - According to the Komen Foundation, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime and of those women, African Americans die at a faster rate than any other group. New federal guidelines hope to change those statistics.

For 45-year-old Shawn Martin, her little boy Kian is the reason she wakes up in the morning. "My goal is to see my 7-year-old as an adult, and that he will know that he had a mother that loved him," she said.

Shawn comes from a long line of women in her family with breast cancer. She was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in 2013, and as of this year, her cancer is in remission. This week, the Obama administration clarified guidelines under the Affordable Care Act which will help women like Shaw.

"For some people this is going to be life or death," she said.

Under the Affordable Care Act, most insurance companies must now cover preventative medication for women with an increased risk of breast cancer. Doctors say these medications, at time, can reduce the risk of breast cancer by 60 percent.

This week's announcement is especially important for African-American women. Consuelo Ross, a breast cancer survivor and founder of the non-profit Surviving the Odds, says black women need to be aware of these alarming statistics.

"We have more women that are being diagnosed, more African-American women who are being diagnosed at stage four and are not surviving past the five years," she said.

Recent data shows African-American women are more likely than all other women to die from breast cancer, and according to the American Cancer Society, Wyandotte County has one of the highest rates in the nation of African-American women dying from the disease. Now the challenge is spreading awareness.

"There are so many free resources that African-American women have access to that they do not utilize," said Ross.

 

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