comscoreBreast Cancer Risk and Race

Breast Cancer Risk and Race

Lola Fayanju, MD, explains breast cancer risk assessment tools, why they might not accurately predict risk for Black women and women of color, and how these women can develop a screening plan with their doctors.
Sep 17, 2020

In addition to treating people with breast cancer surgery, Dr. Fayanju’s research interests include using big data and sophisticated analyses to reduce disparities in outcomes after breast cancer diagnoses and to improve the value of breast cancer care. When she was a general surgery resident at Washington University in St. Louis, her research found that women treated by safety-net primary care doctors in the greater St. Louis area were more likely to be diagnosed with more advanced-stage breast cancer than women who had private insurance. She also looked at the reasons behind this disparity, and her work led to an overhaul of the referral process for underserved women in the St. Louis area.

In a June 2020 New England Journal of Medicine article, at least two widely used tools estimating breast cancer risk have been found to offer lower risk estimates for women of color.

Listen to the podcast to hear Dr. Fayanju explain:

  • how these tools were created

  • why an artificially lower risk of breast cancer can be harmful for women of color

  • the factors that she thinks need to be incorporated into risk calculators for minority women

  • how women of color can accurately figure out their risk of breast cancer and develop an appropriate screening plan with their doctor

About the guest
Lola Fayanju headshot
Oluwadamilola "Lola" Fayanju, MD, MA, MPHS, FACS

Dr. Fayanju is the Helen O. Dickens Presidential Associate Professor and chief of breast surgery at Penn Medicine, the University of Pennsylvania Health System in Philadelphia, PA

— Last updated on June 29, 2022, 2:46 PM

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