Dr. Olopade on Racial Disparities in Breast Cancer Outcomes

March 5, 2021
Olufunmilayo Falusi Olopade, MD, FACP

Olufunmilayo Falusi Olopade, MD, FACP, discusses racial disparities in breast cancer outcomes.

Olufunmilayo Falusi Olopade, MD, FACP, director of the Center for Clinical Cancer Genetics, director of the Center for Global Health, associate dean for Global Health, and the Walter L. Palmer Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine and Human Genetics at the University of Chicago Medicine, discusses racial disparities in breast cancer outcomes.

Black women have the highest risk of dying from breast cancer on a global scale, according to Olopade, who was recognized as a 2020 Giant of Cancer Care® for Prevention and Genetics. When examining the reasons for these disparities, social determinants are considered to be one of the most notable contributors, Olopade says.

Although financial disparities are often cited as the cause of these disparities, Olopade notes that the COVID-19 pandemic stands as a lesson that impoverished patients shouldn't need to die in a wealthy country such as the United States. Systemic racism and barriers have segregated a large proportion of patients and prevented clinical research from focusing on populations of color, Olopade explains.

As more individuals immigrate to the United States, the population has become more diverse than ever before. Despite this, clinical trials, interventions, and publications have predominantly focused on White patients of European ancestry, Olopade concludes.


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