Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Breast Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Improving Blacks' Breast Cancer Survival

Upgrading Care of Diabetes, High Blood Pressure May Help
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

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 study suggests.

The study appears in The Journal of the American Medical Association. It included about 900 black and white women with breast cancer.

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 note.

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.

Today on WebMD

Breast Cancer Overview
From self-exams and biopsies to reconstruction, we’ve got you covered.
Dealing with breast cancer
Get answers to your questions.
woman having mammogram
Experts don’t agree on all fronts, but you can be your own advocate.
woman undergoing breast cancer test
Many women worry. But the truth? Most abnormalities aren’t breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Treatments Improving
Resolved To Quit Smoking
Woman getting mammogram
Screening Tests for Women
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
serious woman
what is your cancer risk
10 Ways to Revitalize Slideshow