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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Two Reasons Why Breast Cancer is More Lethal for Blacks Than Whites

Two Reasons Why Breast Cancer is More Lethal for Blacks Than Whites
Breast cancer death rates were 41 percent higher among black women than among white women in the United States, according to research from 2014. Recent research, however, now explains why, identifying two primary reasons why breast cancer is more lethal for blacks than whites.

Two reasons why

A new study by the American Cancer Society identified differences in insurance and differences in tumor characteristics as the two primary reasons for increased risk of death from breast cancer among black women. Research results came from examining information on more than 550,000 non-elderly women with early stage breast cancer.

#1 - Differences in insurance

The study showed that 23 percent of black women were more likely to be uninsured or have Medicaid coverage, compared to just 8 percent of white women. As a result, more black women do not have access to scientific advances in prevention, early detection and treatment of breast cancer, increasing their risk of dying from the disease.

#2 - Differences in tumor characteristics

In addition, the study showed that black women were more likely to have tumors that were larger, more advanced and hormone receptor-negative. Hormone receptor-negative cancers tend to grow faster and have fewer treatment options.

The two differences are closely aligned and point to the importance of early detection. Early detection is the key to increased survival of breast cancer. This becomes even more important for black women who tend to have larger, more advanced tumors.

Study researchers expressed the need to "Equalizing access to care for non-elderly black women could help reduce the disparities in the death rates of women diagnosed with breast cancer."

To learn more about how to detect breast cancer early, visit

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