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Young black women with breast cancer fare worse than white women

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Among breast cancer patients younger than 65 years, stage-specific survival rates are lower for black women than for white women, according to a report published in the June 1st issue of Cancer.

In contrast, race had little bearing on survival in older patients. Taken together, these findings suggest that a racial gap in treatment exists for younger patients that is narrowed in older patients, possibly due to the presence of Medicare.The current findings add to a growing body of evidence that suggests breast cancer treatments and, possibly outcomes, are inferior for black women.To assess the effect of race on breast cancer outcomes, Dr. Kenneth C. Chu, from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues analyzed breast cancer data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program of the NCI from 1992 to 1999.Overall, stage-specific 6-year survival rates were, in general, significantly lower for black women than for white women, the investigators note.However, further analysis according to treatment type and estrogen receptor (ER) status revealed some different findings. In this analysis, only black women younger than 50 years with ER-positive tumors and black women younger than 65 years with ER-negative tumors had significantly lower survival rates than their white counterparts.In every age group, stage I disease was less common among black females than white females, the authors state. The present results suggest “the need to focus on racial differences in treatments for younger black females,” Dr. Chu’s team notes. “In addition, the racial differences in stage distribution indicate that black females of every age need to focus more on early diagnosis.”(Source: Cancer 2003;97:2853-2860: Reuters Health: May 19, 2003: Oncolink)

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Posted On: 20 May, 2003
Modified On: 3 December, 2013


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