For decades there’s been an ongoing issue in the black community about the physical features of black women who decide to wear weaves and use hair relaxers.  

 For those who advocate against it, they maintain that black women who choose to alter their appearance, do so from either psychological self-hate, or denouncing their heritage in favor of adopting the features of white women’s hair—which is considered easier to manage due to its texture.

.  “Using these data in our own study, my team of epidemiologists and I found that Black women who used hair products containing lye at least seven times a year for 15 or more years had an approximately 30 percent increased risk of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer compared with more infrequent users,” said Kimberly Bertrand an assistant professor of medicine at Boston University.

The study was conducted by Boston University’s Black Women’s Health Study, which followed 59,000 self-identified African American women who used relaxers.

“Black women diagnosed with breast cancer are 40 percent more likely to die from the disease than white women,” said Bertrand. “While systemic factors such as delays in diagnosis and poorer health care likely contribute to this disparity, they don’t seem to fully explain the survival gap between Black and white women.”

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“Thanks to 59,000 study participants in the Black Women’s Health Study, our research team continues to investigate risk factors for breast cancer and other diseases in Black women. By understanding what causes disease and learning about ways to lower risk, society can move one step closer toward eliminating health disparities,” said Bertrand.

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