Breast cancer survival for black women still at 1991 levels

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Breast Cancer Survival for Blacks Unchanged Since 1991
Breast Cancer Survival for Blacks Unchanged Since 1991

(HealthDay News) -- Breast cancer survival for black women diagnosed in the last two decades has not changed, and appears to be lower than breast cancer survival for white women due to presentation characteristics at diagnosis rather than treatment differences, according to a study published in the July 24/31 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Jeffrey H. Silber, M.D., Ph.D., from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and colleagues compared five-year breast cancer survival among 7,375 black women 65 years and older diagnosed between 1991 to 2005 and three matched sets of white women (matched by treatment, presentation, or demographics).

The researchers found that, in the demographics match, the absolute survival difference was a significant 12.9 percent lower for black women, which did not change between 1991 and 2005. In the presentation match, the absolute survival difference was a significant 4.4 percent lower, and in the treatment match, the absolute survival difference was a significant 3.6 percent lower. In the presentation match, although significantly fewer black women received treatment, the time from diagnosis to treatment was significantly longer, the use of anthracyclines and taxols was significantly lower, and breast-conserving surgery without other treatment was significantly more frequent, this only accounted for 0.81 percent of the 12.9 percent difference in survival.

"These differences in survival appear primarily related to presentation characteristics at diagnosis rather than treatment differences," Silber and colleagues conclude.

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