Black Health

Why Black Women Are More Affected By Breast Cancer

A breast cancer diagnosis is more likely to cause an early death for African-American women than for white women, research reveals.

The only 55.9% of the black women who were diagnosed with breast cancer stay alive five years later. It’s unlike 68.8% for white women of the same age and who are living in the same region and who were diagnosed in a similar year, as per a 2013 study.

The study compared the black and white breast cancer patients who had similar demographic features and similar tumors and noticed that the survival gap of 12.9% narrowed to 4.4%. But when the researchers based on white patients with not only similar tumors and demographics, but who also had similar breast cancer medications, the gap shrunk further, to 3.6%.

This implied that black women who were breast cancer patients, fared worse than whites since they were sicker from the beginning. For instance, they found, 26percent of the black women patients already had diabetes at the time of breast cancer diagnosis; unlike 15.3% of white women with similar characteristics.

“The analysis is based on Medicare data from (the National Cancer Institute). In 1991- 2005, 99,898 white women and 7,375 black, who aged at minimum  65 years old, were breast cancer patients. The survival gap was consistent over the entire study period.

The study found that the treatment black women patients received wasn’t as good as for the whites (blacks rarely got an appropriate dosage of chemotherapy drugs and also were more likely to opt for breast-conserving surgery without adequate therapy — they didn’t realize those differences had a high impact).

“By the time black women (seek a doctor), they are so sick that treatment can’t chance the outcomes,” reports Dr. Jeffrey H. Silber, the leader of the study.

The research established that blacks tended to be diagnosed with more advanced cancers and bigger tumors than white women. Additionally, research revealed that even after being diagnosed with the breast cancer, black women patients waited longer than the white patients to commence treatment (an average of 29.2 days, unlike 22.5 days for white patients with similar demographics.

The study depicted that, if black women start earlier treatment, the survival gap between white and blacks would even worsen, since the impacts of receiving inferior treatment would matter a lot.

Silber revealed the survival gap between whites and blacks was actually even larger for patients aged below 65.

“They situation will worsen since they do not have Medicare yet,” he outlined. Besides, “there exist biological distinctions in tumors between whites and blacks in the younger ages” which favor white women,” he elaborates.


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