Cancer rates continue to rise among young adults, and recent research has confirmed that an increase in cancer diagnoses is prevalent in young women.

In January, Michael Strahan’s daughter, Isabella Strahan, announced that she had a cancerous brain tumor. During an interview with with Robin Roberts, she shared how doctors diagnosed her in October with medulloblastoma. It is a tumor located in the lower part of the brain.

During the conversation, she revealed she first experienced symptoms as a freshman at the University of Southern California. Her symptoms were nausea, headaches and difficulty walking straight. Strahan thought her symptoms were signs of vertigo. After waking up early in the morning and “throwing up blood,” her family pushed her to receive immediate medical attention. On Oct. 25, doctors discovered the tumor in her brain and described it as “larger than a golf ball.” On Oct. 27, a day before she turned 19, she completed emergency surgery to remove the tumor.

New research shows that cancer rates in young women, primarily in their 30s, are climbing. Breast cancer is one of the leading diagnoses. Breast cancer and its mortality rates continue to disproportionately impact Black women in comparison to white women. The Breast Cancer Research Foundation reported that Black women have a 40 percent higher death rate from breast cancer than white women. Young women also have a higher diagnosis of aggressive cancers.

Biology, social and various other factors play a role in the high mortality rate for Black women with breast cancer. In addition, the lack of affordable and adequate access to healthcare also contributes to the high numbers. Black women typically develop more aggressive types of breast cancer, due to these factors and the inability to catch the tumor in its early stages. 

Strahan and other young women are using their stories to bring awareness to this rising health crisis, among young Black women. Organizations are also playing a role in raising awareness. The National Cancer Institute is one of many organizations that publicized ways to improve accessibility to healthcare in underserved communities. Creating statewide cancer screenings, conducting more research, expanding clinical trials, and bridging the educational gap are driving forces behind cultivating a solution for the health disparity.