Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Though whites have the highest incidence of breast cancer overall, African-American women have the highest rates of pre-menopausal breast cancer and are more likely to die from the disease at any age
African-American women are more than twice as likely as white women to be diagnosed with early-onset, virulent tumors called triple-negatives, so named because they are not fueled by estrogen, progesterone or the HER2neu protein and therefore do not respond to current therapies that block or eliminate those hormones. Women in West Africa are similarly afflicted. Triple-negatives can be removed through surgery if caught early. Trouble is, young women and African-American women tend to have particularly dense breast tissue, making it hard for even a mammogram to catch some tumors. At the other end of the spectrum, Asian and Pacific Islander women have the lowest rates of breast cancer and morbidity of all the ethnic groups in the United States.