Black Women More Likely to Die from Breast Cancer than Whites

by Ayvaunn Penn, Your Black World

A new study that has been published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology concerning the relation between breast cancer mortality rate and race. According to Reuters, Susan M. Gapstur of the American Cancer Society states that this “new study is the most detailed and well-designed so far.”

During the course of this study, after the eight-year mark had been passed fourteen percent of white females had died of breast cancer while twenty-five percent of black women had died. Because African-American women on average tend to weigh more than white women, researchers initially thought that the latter data could be a product of that. However, the results of this study show otherwise. According to reports from Reuters:

“Obese white women had a 46-percent higher chance of dying of breast cancer than their normal-weight white peers and the increased risk remained after taking other diseases and education into account. But there was no such link for blacks. The researchers did find a hint that extra poundage might be related to cancer death in black women with advanced disease, but Gapstur said those results would need to be replicated by additional studies in other groups. ‘It was surprising that this study shows a positive relationship between obesity and breast cancer mortality in white women and not in black women,” she said. “It raises important questions about other possible reasons.'”

Researchers predict that a difference in tumor biology and access to health care are factors in the mortality rate between black women and white women with breast cancer. According to a study conducted last year, it was found that after breast cancer surgery black women waited longer than white women to proceed to drug treatment. Last year’s study also discovered that black women were usually diagnosed at later stages of breast cancer than their white counterparts. Gapstur stresses that even though weight has not been directly tied to increased death rate among black women with breast cancer, it is still important to African-American women to watch their weight. She states, “We don’t yet have a clear picture…It is always important to maintain a healthy weight, for a variety of reasons.”

Ayvaunn Penn is a spoken word artist and an award winning writer completing her degree in English and philosophy. For more of her witty-word works click here. To have your original poetry featured by Ms. Penn on Your Black Poets, click here.



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