Breast Cancer More Fatal in Black Men, Study Finds
Black men are more likely than white men to die of breast cancer, according to a study published in the March 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, HealthDay/Washington Post reports. For the study, lead author Dawn Hershman, assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology at Columbia University's Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, and colleagues studied 510 men older than age 65 who were diagnosed with stage one to stage three breast cancer between 1991 and 2002. Male breast cancer accounts for less than 1% of all breast cancers and less than 1% of all cancers in men. Five-year survival rates for the 34 black men in the study were 66%, compared with about 90% for the study's 456 white men. Hershman in a statement said, "Racial disparities in outcomes in women with breast cancer have been well studied. This study shows that similar racial disparities exist for men. While male breast cancer is rare, understanding the factors that black men and women with breast cancer have in common may help us understand the reasons for these disparities." She said that the findings "support more investigation into the clinical and biologic factors that contribute to racial disparities in male breast cancer," adding, "While many different factors are likely to be involved in the disparity, this study provides some clues that lower access to standard treatment may be an important one" (HealthDay/Washington Post, 3/19).
An abstract of the study is available online.