Improving Blacks' Breast Cancer Survival
Upgrading Care of Diabetes, High Blood Pressure May Help
WebMD News Archive
Oct. 11, 2005 -- Black women with breast cancer have shorter survival spans
than white women, and this may be related to other medical conditions, a new
The study appears in The Journal of the American Medical
Association. It included about 900 black and white women with breast
Over 10 years, more black women than whites died -- and not just from breast
cancer. Other health problems -- especially diabetes and high blood pressure --
seemed to contribute to much of the black-white survival gap.
In fact, most black patients died of health problems unrelated to cancer,
the study shows.
The researchers included C. Martin Tammemagi, PhD, of Canada's Brock
University in St. Catharine's, Ontario.
Black-White Breast Cancer Survival
Breast cancer is the most common cancer for American women (except for
nonmelanoma skin cancer).
In the U.S., breast cancer is most often seen in white women. But black
women are more likely to die of the disease.
"Although breast cancer survival has improved over the last 30 years,
disparities in breast cancer survival between blacks and whites have not
declined and remain sizeable," write the researchers.
From 1995-2002, nearly 90% of white breast cancer patients survived for at
least five years. That percentage was smaller for blacks (75%), the researchers
The reasons for ethnic gaps in breast cancer survival
aren't fully understood yet.
Other studies have shown that black women are often diagnosed at later,
harder-to-treat stages of breast cancer and have more aggressive breast
cancers. Black women may also face problems getting top-quality medical care.
Other researchers have suggested that genetics could also be a factor.