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Latinas and black women may face increased risks of developing triple-negative breast cancers (TNBC), according to a study published in Cancer.
These forms are often aggressive and do not respond to hormone therapy or targeted therapy.
These latest findings solidify known cancer development disparities, which continue to grow amongst Latinos, other racial/ethnic minority groups, and young women.
Breast Cancer Inequities
Dr. Lia Scott, of the Georgia State University School of Public Health, and her team studied all available diagnosed breast cancer cases from 2010 to 2014 using the U.S. Cancer Statistics database.
It consists of a population-based surveillance system of cancer registries with numbers representing 99% of the U.S. population.
“With the advent and availability of more comprehensive cancer data it is important that we continue to explore disparities to better inform practice and policy around screenable cancers like breast cancer,” Dr. Scott told Wiley.
Researchers discovered 1,151,724 cases of breast cancer during the established timeframe and that TNBC cases accounted for approximately 8.4% of all diagnoses.
Furthermore, they found a significant TNBC burden amongst women of color, including:
- Black women and Latino women had 2.3-times and 1.2-times higher odds of being diagnosed with TNBC compared to their white counterparts
- 21% of black women were diagnosed with TNBC, compared with less than 11% for all other types of breast cancer
- Women younger than 40 years of age had twice the odds of being diagnosed with TNBC than women aged 50-64 years
- Women who were diagnosed with breast cancer, those diagnosed at late stages were 69% more likely to have TNBC than other types.
“We hope that this update on the epidemiology of triple-negative breast cancer can provide a basis to further explore contributing factors in future research,” said Dr. Scott.
Compared to their white counterparts, Latinos and other minorities continuously and disproportionately face a plethora of disparities in incidence and mortality rates of certain cancers such as liver, cervical, and rare diseases cancers.
Additionally, for Latinas, breast cancer, in general, can be fatal.
This new research exemplifies further disparities.
Efforts to Improve Survivorship
While the disparities continue, researchers continue to push for improvement.
Take, for example, Dr. Daniel Carlos Hughes.
Hughes, a researcher at the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio, the team behind Salud America!, is leading a new pilot intervention that takes a holistic approach to improve cancer survivors’ quality of life, thanks to a one-year, $50,000 grant from UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Hughes and his team have designed a holistic intervention to optimize physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of quality of life for any adult cancer survivor who seeks to enter the program.
“Cancer is beginning to be thought of as more of a chronic disease,” Hughes said. “What we are hoping here is as we learn how to apply this better it will become more mainstream, and ultimately primary care providers or oncologists can reach out to people like us or make it part of their own practice.”
And many Latinas are surviving breast cancer, and thriving.
Check out the Nuestras Historias online book of Latina survivor stories! Or read new survivor stories from the Breast Friends Forever (BFF) young breast cancer survivors support group in San Antonio:
Read more survivor stories and news about breast cancer!