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A new report shows that the number of black women who are diagnosed with breast cancer is on the rise, but doctors are not sure what is causing the increased numbers.

About 232,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013, according to government statistics. More than 39,000 women are expected to die from the disease this year.

About eight in 10 breast cancer cases and almost nine in 10 breast cancer deaths occur in women 50 years of age and older.

Previous research suggests black women with the disease fare worse than diagnosed white women.

A Harvard study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research medical conference in Oct. 2012 found within three years of a breast cancer diagnosis, black women were 50 percent more likely to die than white women.

This June, a JAMA study showed that black women are less likely to survive a breast cancer diagnosis within five years because they undergo fewer screenings, have poorer health at the time of diagnosis and have more advanced disease by the time the cancer is found.

The new report, published Oct. 1 in the American Cancer Society’s journal CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, tracked breast cancer incidence and death rates from 2006 through 2010.

White women historically have had the highest breast cancer rates among women over 40, according to the authors, but black women are closing the gap, especially those 50 to 59 years old.

Black women saw a 0.2 percent increase in breast cancer rates during the five-year study period, while there was no change among white, Asian and American Indian women. Hispanic women saw a 0.6 percent drop in breast cancer rates.

Black women continue to be more likely than other women to be diagnosed with breast cancer before age 40, and were more likely to die of breast cancer at any age compared to other women.

The new report found breast cancer death rates have dropped 34 percent since 1990.

“Although the incidence haven’t declined, we have made strides in the effort to improve the survival rate,” Dr. Stephanie Bernik, chief of surgical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, told HealthDay.

“However, not all ethnic groups are enjoying this improved survival,” added Bernik, who was not involved in the research.

The report also broke down the types of breast cancer women were getting. For all age groups, white women have the highest rates of ER-positive (meaning they respond to estrogen) breast cancers, and black women have the highest rates of ER-negative breast cancer.

These trends may reflect racial differences in disease risk factors. The authors said reproductive history and obesity are more strongly linked to ER-positive breast cancer, while lower socioeconomic status has been linked to raised risk for ER-negative breast cancer.

The American Cancer Society’s full Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2013-2014 report can be accessed here.

 

source: CBS NEWS

 

Clutchettes, have you included breast examinations as  part of your health routine?

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  • march pisces

    staying positive in thought and prayer as i patiently await a follow up mammogram in a couple weeks. i’m trying real hard to keep myself mentally occupied as not to drive myself crazy…..

    • Kaeli

      Please know there is at least one stranger out there praying for your positive outcome. Take care of yourself and best wishes.

    • ziggy

      Make that two strangers. I am wishing you good health and happiness.

    • march pisces

      thank you! i am much appreciative….

  • Starla

    Well the answer to the mystery may be in the article. There are more options for treating ER-positive cancers and this may link back to the time when breast cancer was a ‘white woman’s disease’, all the years of research and treatment options would have been developed along those lines. ER-negative have lesser treatment options, thus seeming harder to treat and deadlier.

    In my own non-scientific study; I have found that Breast cancers are linked to emotional trauma, physical abuse and unforgiveness.

    • SMCD

      You’re right and it is scary. Even if you adjust for income level and access to care, black women do have a higher likelihood of having triple negative breast cancer, in which tumors lack the receptors to estrogen, progesterone and Her2/neu, which are commonly used by drugs to target the tumor.

      I haven’t read the paper cited here but I do wonder how the increase in the number of black women with breast cancer relates to 1. more screening, which means that more women have a diagnosis than would have had one previously and 2. women with breast cancer are living longer, leading to a higher prevalence of the disease in the community.

  • ziggy

    I’ve lost my mother and my aunt to this dreadful disease. The American Cancer Society’s only focus is on treatment not prevention. Ladies, please be sure you are getting enough vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to cancer. I believe black people don’t get enough. If you have dark skin, your body doesn’t readily absorb natural vitamin D from the sun.

    Getting it from your diet is best, but take supplements if you don’t eat well, but whatever you do please stay away from HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP.

  • I hope the affordable care act by providing free breast cancer screening will help detect the tumor in its early stage.and more Black women will get accès to proper care after been diagnosed
    Some new test can detect breast cancer a decade before it develops.