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New Study Sheds Light on Lower Breast Cancer Survival Rate for Black Women

A new study has found that African-American women are more likely to suffer from larger, faster-growing, and harder-to-treat breast cancer tumors than white women. The study of 2,140 breast cancer patients was conducted by researchers at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and published yesterday in Cancer, the American Cancer Society’s peer-reviewed journal.

The researchers found that race is a factor in survival rates for women with breast cancer in addition to access to health care and breast cancer screenings, differences in treatment, socioeconomic status, and racial bias. Though black women are less likely to develop breast cancer than white and Hispanic women, they are more likely to die from the disease. The 10-year survival rate for African Americans is 52 percent, compared to 62 percent for Caucasians and Hispanics, according to the study.

“These findings should prompt additional research on how we can improve outcomes for African-American patients by understanding and addressing tumor biology,” said first author Wendy Woodward, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of radiation oncology at M. D. Anderson. “It’s important to identify unique features in different populations and subgroups of all women with breast cancer so we can understand a woman’s risk and factors that affect her care on an individual level.”

Sources:

M. D. Anderson release 10/23/06; New York Times 10/24/06; Houston Chronicle 10/24/06

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