Women of Color Face Higher Risk of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

Young women and also women of color are facing high risks of triple-negative breast cancer, according to a brand new study.  The horrifying characteristic about triple-negative breast cancer is that it is much more aggressive than other cancer types and also does not respond very well to either hormones or even targeted therapies.

Prior studies conducted in the United States have also discovered disparities in triple-negative breast cancer cases among different races, but not many have investigated beyond the one state. For this study, the researchers evaluated and analyzed cases of breast cancer that were diagnosed during the years 2010–2014 and were residing within the US Cancer Statistics database. This organization offers a cancer surveillance system where cancer cases were registered and represents 99% of the United States population.

The Comparison of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Cases

women of color triple negative breast cancerThe research team identified over 1.15 million individual breast cancer cases. Among these cases, the occurrences of triple-negative cases accounted for around 8.4% of the total cases. And it was discovered that a significant number of these triple-negative cases were from women of color, especially those who were black and non-Hispanic, and from younger women as well.

As compared with women that were white and non-Hispanic, it was black women and those who were Hispanic that had much greater odds of getting a triple-negative breast cancer diagnosis. Black women received over 21% of the total triple-negative breast cancer cases in this comparison, while getting diagnosed with less than 11% of other breast cancer types.

Women that were younger than 40 had roughly double the odds of having triple-negative breast cancer than women that were 50–64 years of age. In addition, women that had been diagnosed in the later stages of breast cancer were 69% more apt to be suffering from triple-negative breast cancer than from any other type of cancer.

“Our results demonstrate that African American women of younger age are more likely to be diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer than younger women of other ethnicities,” pointed out Dora Il’yasova, who is an epidemiologist and associate professor from the School of Public Health at Georgia State University.

Due to the more aggressive nature associated with triple-negative breast cancer along with the lack of therapeutic treatment options, it’s very important to be aware of the individuals that are facing much higher risks. Also important is understanding the factors that will influence such risks, according to the researchers.

Knowing Your Family’s Health History

“Until we have evidence of what environmental and genetic components contribute to this risk, it is imperative that women know their familial history of breast cancer, discuss that with their physicians and follow screening recommendations,” stated the lead researcher named Lia Scott, who happens to be a recent doctoral graduate from the School of Public Health.

“We hope that this update on the epidemiology of triple-negative breast cancer can provide a basis to further explore contributing factors in future research.”

The American Cancer Society tells us that most of the breast cancers we see are typically classified by just three proteins which determine the growth of a given cancer. These are the progesterone hormone receptor, the estrogen hormone receptor, and finally the epidermal growth factor receptor 2.

The fact is that this deadly triple-negative breast cancer has none of these receptors, and this makes it very hard to determine exactly what is causing the cancer to growth so aggressively. Our doctors have few options in regards to targeted treatments for destroying these particular cancer cells. However in the end, chemotherapy is still the best choice for treating and attacking this type of cancer and for helping to reduce its ability to return.