We at XPO value the opportunity that Breast Cancer Awareness Month affords us to help keep this disease in the center of a spotlight we’ve always put on women’s health. It’s especially important to me, as XPO’s chief diversity officer, that I lend my voice to the fight against a disease that’s touched so many of us, both directly and indirectly.
When you look at the statistics, it’s easy to see why XPO wanted to step forward to serve as the official transportation partner of all Susan G. Komen 3-Day fundraising walks in 2021. Information from Komen shows that in 2020 there will be over 275,000 cases of invasive breast cancer among women in the US alone, and more than 42,000 women will lose their lives to the disease. One in eight women in the US will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. And it’s important to remember that while less than 1% of those diagnosed with breast cancer are male, the statistics on women reflect a life-altering, too often life-shattering, blow to tens of thousands of men in these women’s lives. Still, as heartbreaking as these statistics are, they don’t tell the full story.
There’s a diversity element to this story that goes beyond gender. Race and ethnicity are factors in the invasiveness and survivability of the disease, according to Komen.
Although the percentage of new breast cancer cases is slightly lower among Black women than among white women in the US., the death rate for Black women is 40% higher than for white women. Barriers faced by Black women in accessing high-quality health care is likely a factor, since Black women have more advanced breast cancers at diagnosis compared to white women. While death rates for Hispanic and Latina women are lower than those for white or Black women, they, too, tend to have later-stage breast cancers at diagnosis than White women do.
Obstacles to early detection have become a particular concern this year, as the pandemic has delayed diagnoses and paused treatments. Promoting awareness and facilitating access to screenings have become all the more critical. I’m gratified that employees enrolled in XPO’s benefits program are covered for annual preventative mammogram screenings.
The chance to reflect on XPO’s focus on women’s health and wellbeing has been a welcome corollary to our observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. That women in our company are getting the support they’ve so consistently earned is rewarding for us all.