|Sue A. Joslyn and Michele M. West|
|Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania|
| Last Modified: November 1, 2001
Reviewers: Li Liu, MD
Précis: African-American women were at increased risk of death from breast cancer
IntroductionPrevious studies have documented a worse prognosis from breast cancer for black women compared with white women. There is also significant interaction between race and stage; black women are more likely to have advanced stages of disease at clinical presentation (JAMA 1994 Sep 28; 272(12): 947-54). In this study, the researchers updated the results of the National Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program to examine the effects of race on the survival of patients with breast carcinoma.
MethodA total of 135,424 women diagnosed with primary breast cancer between 1988 and 1995 were analyzed.
DiscussionIn this study, African-American women had significantly poorer survival from breast cancer than their white counterparts. Clearly, the specific mechanism by which race affects the clinical course of breast cancer needs continued exploration. Despite our incomplete knowledge, however, many potential contributory factors can be remedied with currently available resources. In particular, physicians must try to ensure that race and socioeconomic status do not limit access to early and appropriate treatment.