Breast Cancer, Chemo and Race

October 19, 2009

When it comes to breast cancer, statistics have shown that race has an affect on the odds of getting the cancer as well as the odds of death.  A new study by Chavez-MacGregor and colleagues at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer  included 2,074 patients diagnosed and treated for stage II and III breast cancer was covered by U.S. News.  The study showed some interesting differences as well as similarities, depending on the section topic.  While it is more common for a white woman to be diagnosed with breast cancer, the overall survival rates for five years were 79 percent in whites, 57 percent in blacks, 79 percent in Hispanics and 84 percent in other races, the study authors noted.

Although the death rates varied by race, the percentages of patients that reached pathological complete response to chemo therapy showed no statistical differences.  The reported rates are 12.3 percent in white patients, 12.5 percent in black patients, 14.2 percent in Hispanic patients and 11.5 percent in patients of other races.

This study brings about the question of why the death rate varies so much from the response rate of chemo? Does this have to do with the health coverage certain individuals are recieving? If that’s the issue, hopefully the reform of health care can help change these numbers but whatever it is, it’s an issue that needs to be addressed.

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