Racial Gap Exists in Breast Cancer Patients

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

According to the findings of a study publishedin the October 12, 2005, issue of theJournal of the American Medical Association,black women with breast cancer havelower survival rates than their white counterparts,largely because of a higher rate ofcomorbidities. In this study, comorbid illnessesexplained ~50% of the overall survivaldisparity between black and whitewomen and the majority of the competing causessurvival disparity.

Study Chief C. Martin Tammemagi, PhD,of Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario,Canada, said that "diabetes and hypertensionare the 2 most important comorbiditiesaccounting for survival disparities," and thateffective control of these and other conditionsin black breast cancer patients"should help improve their life expectancy" and resolve these differences.

The study involved 906 breast cancerpatients who were followed for ~10 years. Atotal of 264 of the women were black, and642 were white. Twenty-five percent of theblack women being studied died of causesrelated to their breast cancer during thistime, as did 18% of the white women. Theresearchers found that, in the black women,86% had at least 1 comorbidity, comparedwith 66% of the white women.