Multiple studies have shown that African-American women have poorer survival outcomes after a breast cancer diagnosis than white women. One significant contributing factor to these findings is that most studies include all types of breast cancer together. This approach can skew results as white patients have a higher incidence of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer than black women, which has better outcomes than the more aggressive triple-negative form of the disease. A summary of the different types of breast cancer can be found here.
Survival rates between black and white women with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) appear to equalize when these cancers are found early with screening mammograms, a new JAMA study suggests. However, TNBC still remains about twice as common in black women.
This study emphasizes the importance of screening and early detection, particularly in traditionally underserved black women. Unfortunately, we still don’t know why black women experience a much higher rate of TNBC.