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New perspectives on health disparities in breast cancer research
Date:11/28/2007

ATLANTA Breast cancer is a disease with a number of known genetic and behavioral risk factors, but scientists have seen that these risks are often compounded by social and racial inequalities. The question remains: how, exactly, do social disadvantages, genetics, race and culture add to the disparities faced by so many groups of women?

These are among the questions in breast cancer research that scientists are addressing this week at the American Association for Cancer Research conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved, being held November 27-30 in Atlanta.

Today researchers present findings on how poverty can affect cancer prognosis, how ethnicity affects medical care and how genetics can affect the survival of different groups of women.


Racial disparities in early breast cancer outcomes in a mammographic screened population, Abstract no. A-45:

In a retrospective study of women with stage I or II invasive breast cancer, researchers at the University of Chicago have evidence that race-specific biology may contribute to the health disparity faced by African-American women. At eight years following a breast-conserving lumpectomy and radiotherapy, 78.1 percent of African-American women were free of disease versus 84.9 percent of non-black women of various ethnic groups. The researchers believe their data suggest that modification of the current screening mammography guidelines for breast cancer may benefit African Americans.

All other things being equal, including age, the presence of co-morbid disease, socioeconomic status, weight, and tumor size, African-American women in our sample were at a disadvantage for disease-free survival of breast cancer, said Michael A. Nichols, M.D., Ph.D., a resident in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Chicago.

According to Nichols, their study offers rea
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Contact: Greg Lester
greg.lester@aacr.org
267-646-0554
American Association for Cancer Research
Source:Eurekalert

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