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  The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Does Early Chemo Really Help Black Breast Cancer Patients?

Black breast cancer patient

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among African American women, according to the American Cancer Society. Although breast cancer incidence is 4 percent lower in black women, they are more likely to have higher grade, advanced stage breast cancer than women from other races. Early detection is important, but recent research shows that early chemo does not necessarily help.

Early chemo - effect on black women

Researchers at the Yale University Cancer Center monitored 27,300 women with stage 1 to 3 breast cancer. Black women included in the study were not as responsive to early chemo treatment as women of other races. The study did account for the fact that minority women often have more advanced-stage and more aggressive types of breast cancer overall than other women. But the chemo treatment was less effective on black women.

Researchers looking for answers 

Researchers simply do not know for certain why black women are less responsive to early chemo treatment for breast cancer. It is something they are continuing to study. Further studies will focus on finding effective drugs for black women. They also emphasized the importance of having "enough black women in the trials, so that we can be certain they benefit equally from new drugs as they are developed," according to Dr. Donald Lannin, a professor of surgery (oncology) at Yale.

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