More women at risk for Alzheimer's over Breast Cancer

Sapna Parikh
March 21, 2014 2:50:44 PM PDT
Most people know the pink ribbon symbolizes the fight against Breast Cancer.

In fact most people think Breast Cancer affects women the most, but it turns out women have a much higher risk of Alzheimer's disease than Breast Cancer.

"As soon as someone in your life has been affected it really changes the game up in a really significant way," said Candace Douglas.

Candace's grandmother is one of 5 million Americans with Alzheimer's disease. Everyone's at risk but a new report from the Alzheimer's Association finds that for women in their 60's, 1 in 6 will develop Alzheimer's and they're twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease compared to breast cancer.

"Women get Alzheimer's more often than men do -probably because they live longer, and age is the greatest predictor of Alzheimer's disease," said Lou-Ellen Barkan, CEO of NYC Alzheimer's Association.

The new statistics also show that 60 percent of caretakers are women and as so many others like Candace know, the physical and emotional demands never end.

"All of a sudden i had to have these conversations you have to take your medication, you have to go to bed is 2 in the morning," she said.

And there's an impact in the workplace. Among caregivers, women are 7 times more likely to switch to part-time and twice as likely to quit working altogether .

Candace took 2 years off before landing a job at the New York City chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. President and CEO of the New York City chapter, Lou-Ellen Barkan , says the disease impacts everyone because the $214 billion dollar annual cost of care falls primarily on taxpayers.

"The message for women is to change that trajectory, they have to step up -they have to advocate. What we're advocating for is more money for research," she said.

More research because when it comes to Alzheimer's, we currently have no proven options to cure the disease or prevent it in the first place.


Women's Initiative

If you or someone you know has Alzheimer's and need help, free services are available from the Alzheimer's Association, New York City Chapter. Call the 24-hour helpline at 800-272-3900 or visit