Some results from the Carolina Breast Cancer Study (CBCS)-a population-based case-control study of breast cancer in African American and white women in North Carolina.
Bob Millikan, one of the investigators from this study, spoke about the results at the 2001 National Breast Cancer Coalition Advocacy Conference.
Sample size consisted of 2200 cases and 2200 controls. Half of each group was Black and half White.
When the investigators looked at the features of breast tumors they found an excess of disease at higher stages with more lymph node involvement, more distant metastases and more ER negative breast cancer in the African American population.
"On first glance, these results seem to support a view that is very common in the medical literature, that African American women ‘have a more aggressive form of breast cancer’.
However, we know that the incidence of breast cancer in younger women is higher in African American than white women. Our results suggest that after accounting for the fact that many African American women are diagnosed at a younger age and at later stage than white women, African American women do NOT present with a more aggressive form of breast cancer." (Younger women most often have ER negative disease).
Their study suggested that there was a connection between stage at diagnosis for breast cancer and waist-hip ratio, body mass index and education.
Another finding from this study was that lower income, lower education levels and being African American were SEPARATELY ‘associated’ with a higher frequency of total and modified radical mastectomy. Higher income, more education and white race were associated with higher rates of breast conserving surgery (lumpectomy).
Cancer Research, 9/05
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