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Breast cancer's disparity

October 30, 2006|From Times wire reports

Breast cancer may be different in many black American women than those of other races -- more aggressive and of a type that's harder to treat, researchers have found.

The study of more than 2,000 women seems to contradict theories that black women are more likely to die of breast cancer because they get poorer care or show up for treatment later.

Researchers at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston compared the records of black, Hispanic and white breast cancer patients. They found that black women had overall more aggressive tumors and were more likely to die than the Hispanic and white women.

Especially hard to treat are estrogen-receptor negative, or ER-negative tumors, which are not fed by the hormone estrogen. "African American women more frequently had ER-negative disease and high-grade tumors and ... African American race was associated with a poorer survival rate," the researchers write in the upcoming December issue of the journal Cancer.

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