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African-American women still have poorer breast cancer outcomes
Date:5/4/2009

frican American. More than half of the study population (59.4 percent) lived at or below 10 percent of the federal poverty level, according to the 2007 United States Census Bureau report. Five-year survival was calculated from the time of initial diagnosis to the date of last contact or death.

African-American patients presented with breast cancer at a younger age and a more advanced stage, with approximately 72.1 percent of African-American women diagnosed before the age of 65, in comparison with 50.3 percent among Caucasian women (p<0.001). Whereas the majority (68 percent) of Caucasian women were diagnosed with disease that had not spread beyond the breast, only 52.4 percent of African-American women presented with localized disease. Metastatic disease was seen nearly twice as often in African-American women when compared with Caucasian women (5.9 percent versus 3.1 percent; p<0.001). Overall, African-American women had a significantly lower overall five-year survival rate compared with Caucasian women (68.6 versus 79.4 percent, p<0.001).

Upon diagnosis, African-American patients were less likely than Caucasian patients to undergo surgical therapy. Furthermore, among those patients who did undergo surgical therapy, survival rates for African-American women were still considerably lower than for Caucasian women. Similarly, African-American patients who received nonsurgical therapy (e.g., chemotherapy) had a lower rate of survival compared with Caucasian patients who received similar treatments.

A stepwise multivariate analysis revealed a significant decrease in the risk of death observed for African-American patients upon adjustment for stage of presentation, suggesting that disparities in breast cancer outcomes are, in part, a result of advanced stage at diagnosis.

Researchers also identified socioeconomic status as an independent predictor of poor breast cancer outcomes. Patients in the lowest socioeconomic status category
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Contact: Sally Garneski
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Source:Eurekalert

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