A triple-negative breast cancer survivor discussed disparities she faced when undergoing cancer care.
Research has shown that Black women with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) tend to have higher mortality rates than their White counterparts. According to a survey conducted by the Tigerlily Foundation presented at the 2023 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, more than half (52%) of Black women who participated reported that they did not receive biomarker-driven cancer care.
In an interview with CURE® TNBC survivor, Catrina Crutcher, discusses disparities that she faced during her cancer treatment.
“It's those type of disparities that I don't want Black women or brown women to experience because we all deserve the best treatment, no matter the insurance that we have,” she said.
My experiences with disparities is I wasn't provided all of the necessary options for TNBC. It was straight, “only this medication, and this surgery and this chemotherapy and radiation therapy.” I was not provided the option of a clinical trial, or any type of other therapy besides immunotherapy, and for me, immunotherapy did not work, even though the FDA approved it. It gave me a pancreatitis. I was in the hospital for 10 days, I lost 34 pounds, and it was horrible. And I still have side effects from that experience. So I think, learning from my other peers who have been through breast cancer and who have triple-negative (breast cancer) learning that we don't have the same treatment options.
And also when it comes to insurance, I had shared a conversation with my doctor, (that) unfortunately, I lost my role, and my employer let me go. And I had told my oncologist, “Hey, I no longer have insurance.” And the fact that he immediately told me, “I cannot see you anymore,” was like, “Well, hold on. I have backups. I'm on my fiancé’s insurance.” But just to jump point and just say, “Oh, I can't see you again,” with that disparity without knowing what I have on the back burner or something just to have a backup plan. You didn't know that. For you to jump to that you can't see me and I’ve got to go to a lesser hospital that won't give me the treatment options. I didn't like that conversation. And I did have to correct him. And I did say something at that moment. It's those type of disparities that I don't want Black women or brown women to experience because we all deserve the best treatment, no matter the insurance that we have.
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