University of Louisville researcher Dr. Kathy B. Baumgartner reported yesterday that hispanic women have a 20 percent increased risk for death from breast cancer.
Baumgartner noted that “this difference may be associated with a tumor (type) that is less responsive to chemotherapy.”
She was presenting her team’s findings during the 2011 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, sponsored by the Cancer Therapy & Research Center and American Association for Cancer Research, according to a U of L news release.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer and is the second cause of cancer death in women in the United States.
Incidence and survival rates vary by ethnicity, and previous research has demonstrated a trend toward poorer survival among Hispanic women.
“Increased awareness of this ethnic disparity is needed to improve survival in Hispanic women with breast cancer,” Baumgartner stated in the release.
Baumgartner and colleagues conducted the New Mexico Women’s Health Study from 1992 to 1996, a statewide, population-based, case-control breast cancer study that examined the difference between Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women for breast cancer risk.
From the release:
In all, 692 women with a first primary breast cancer participated. A more recent study followed the 577 women with invasive breast cancer through 2008 to assess differences in long-term survival between Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women in the NMWHS. That study revealed that hispanic women were about 20 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than non-Hispanic white women, which is consistent with other reports, reported Baumgartner. After adjusting for age, stage, lymph node involvement and estrogen receptor (ER) status, the researchers saw the risk drop considerably to almost equal that of non-Hispanic white women — suggesting that “the ethnic difference in breast cancer mortality may be mostly biologically based.”’
About Dr. Kathy Baumgartner: Baumgartner is professor of epidemiology and associate dean for faculty affairs in U of L’s School of Public Health and Information Sciences.