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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Why More Black Women Get Aggressive Breast Cancer -- Finally, The REAL Reason...

Black woman diagnosed with breast cancer

Medical researchers have known for many years that black women under the age of 50 are much more likely to be diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer than white women. What they didn't know was why. Now they know.

It all comes down to gene mutations

A recent study from the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, seems to have found the reason why black women get an aggressive form of cancer. It has to do with cancer-related gene mutations. Studies have shown that these genes are in about 5 percent of women. The problem is that the studies involved mostly white women. The recent study from the Moffitt Center focused the gene study on black women and found that 12 percent of black women have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.

Family history doesn't even matter

What's even more interesting about the study is that 40 percent of the black women with the cancer-related gene mutations have no breast cancer or ovarian cancer in the family. So, family history is not a reliable indicator of breast cancer risk among black women.

So, what does all this mean?

This is a breakthrough for women everywhere, but particularly black women who have the higher risk for a more deadly form of breast cancer. As one clinical geneticist at the Moffitt Cancer Center, Dr. Tuya Pal, stated, "Our results suggest that it may be appropriate to recommend BRCA testing in all black women with invasive breast cancer diagnosed at or below age 50."

To ensure that this happens, however, there needs to be a more concerted effort to get more access to these medical services for black women.

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