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Deadly breast cancer more likely for blacks.

New breast cancer research released on the eve of the Sept. 7 Breast Cancer Symposium in California found that black women are more likely than white woman to have a form of aggressive, difficult-to-treat breast cancer and are more likely than white women to die from breast cancer.

The overall incidence of breast cancer is lower among black women than white women, but survival rates for those diagnosed with the disease are significantly lower for black women. A study based on more than 170,000 cases of breast cancer included in the National Cancer Data Base found that white women made up 90.3 percent of cases, compared to 9.7 percent of black women. But for women with invasive cancers, estrogen receptor-negative tumors were significantly more frequent in black women at every stage of disease and in all age groups. Thirty-nine percent of black women had estrogen receptor-negative tumors--associated with less favorable outcomes than estrogen receptor-positive tumors--compared to 22 percent of white women.

Black women were diagnosed at an average age of 57, compared to 62 for white women, and were diagnosed at a later stage of breast cancer than white women.

"The fact that breast cancers in black women are more aggressive biologically suggests that we need to focus more of our research energy on developing better treatments," said M. Catherine Lee, MD, the study's lead author. "These findings also point to a need for improved cancer education and screening in black women, particularly those in younger age groups."
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Title Annotation:HEALTH FINDINGS: The latest public health studies and research
Author:Arias, Donya C.
Publication:The Nation's Health
Date:Nov 1, 2007
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