Black Women Have More Severe Cases of Breast Cancer Than Whites, Hispanics, Study Finds
Black women receiving the same breast cancer treatments as Hispanic and white women in two separate clinical trials had lower survival rates, were more likely to be diagnosed with later-stage cancer and to have more-aggressive tumors, according to a study published in a recent issue of the journal Cancer, Reuters Health/Cancerpage.com reports. For the study, lead researcher Wendy Woodward of the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and colleagues examined 2,140 women participating in two clinical trials of chemotherapy for breast cancer. In both trials, researchers found that black women were more likely to have tumors that did not carry an estrogen receptor, a more aggressive type of tumor, according to Reuters. In one trial, 52% of black women survived for 10 years, compared with 62% of whites and Hispanics, while in the other trial, 40% of black women, 50% of whites and 56% of Hispanics survived for 10 years. While further research is needed to determine why black women have lower survival rates, the researchers noted that possible contributing factors are that black women have less access to care and are more likely to be living in poverty. In addition, the different biology of black women's tumors might account for the disparity. Woodward and her colleagues suggested more tailored treatment for black women and larger clinical trials to fully understand the disparity (Harding, Reuters Health/Cancerpage.com, 12/28/06).
An abstract of the study is available online.