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Dr. Dee McLeod’s deep loss is black women’s gain.
The cancer specialist with The Sacred Heart Cancer Center in Pensacola, Florida, lost her mother to breast cancer while McLeod was in medical training at Meharry Medical College.
McLeod’s personal loss drove her to promote education and awareness in the local community and she is involved in and an advocate for national clinical breast cancer trials.
She has got her work cut out for her.
Black women are less likely than white women to get breast cancer, but when they do they are more likely to die, especially women under 50 years of age.
Black women under the age of 50 have a 77 percent higher mortality rate from breast cancer than other women of the same age.
A study by scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill schools of Public Health and Medicine, and the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, found that younger, pre-menopausal black women are more prone to an especially aggressive type of cancer with a shorter survival rate.
Researchers are looking at a wide array of possible causes, from biology, to genetics ties, to environment in an effort to come up with successful drugs and treatment plans.