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J Natl Med Assoc. 2008 Jun;100(6):698-702.

Higher incidence of aggressive breast cancers in African-American women: a review.

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Department of Medical Oncology, Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA.


Despite a lower incidence of breast cancers in African Americans than in Caucasians, mortality rates from breast cancer are higher in African Americans. This review summarizes disparate characteristics of breast cancer diagnosed in African Americans as compared with Caucasians, such as more advanced stage at diagnosis and less estrogen-receptor positivity of disease, in an effort to explain differences in their survival outcomes. Multifactorial explanations are offered, including differences in access to care, disparate utilization of mammography screening and often differences in treatment course-as well as biologic factors, such as higher incidence of aggressive breast cancer phenotypes, higher grade of tumor and higher growth index of tumors in African Americans as compared with Caucasians. Multiple population-based studies have been reviewed and screening and treatment interventions proposed in order to heighten awareness of these differences and to improve disease outcomes among this high-risk population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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