CNN Examines Aggressive Form of Breast Cancer That Disproportionately Affects Black WomenCNN on Wednesday reported on triple negative breast cancer, a "rare, fast-moving cancer that has experts ... stumped." Nearly 50% of black women under age 55 who are diagnosed with breast cancer have the triple negative type, compared to 22% of white women.
The five-year survival rate for triple negative breast cancer is 15% lower than for other types of the disease, in part because it responds poorly to most breast cancer treatments, CNN reports. Funmi Olopade, a breast cancer expert at the University of Chicago, said triple negative breast cancer is one of the deadliest forms because "[o]ne, we don't know the risk factors for it. Two, we don't know how best to screen for it. And three, we don't know how best to treat it."
Researchers suspect that the higher rate of the cancer among black women might be the result of a genetic mutation. A clinical trial is under way at Emory University to test drugs that could specifically target triple negative breast cancer, CNN reports (Gupta, CNN, 5/28). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.