Different Cancer Diagnoses Because of Genetics

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Breast cancer in Hispanic women is usually more aggressive than breast cancer in non-Hispanic white women. Breast cancer in Hispanic women is:

  • diagnosed at a younger age
  • more advanced at diagnosis
  • more likely to cause death at an earlier age

Similar differences exist between African American and white women. These differences could be due to different quality medical care received by women of various races. Unfortunately, there's plenty of evidence that shows there disparities in healthcare timeliness and quality exist between African Americans and whites.

But some breast cancer differences are probably due to genetics. Different genes may make breast cancer more aggressive in African American and Hispanic women. A study suggests that this may be true for Hispanic women.

In this study, both Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women received timely mammograms and follow-up doctor visits. But the Hispanic women tended to be diagnosed with more aggressive and advanced breast cancer at a younger age. The researchers concluded that this was due to genetic differences in the cancers.

EVERY woman with breast cancer—no matter her age, height, weight, ethnicity, or medical history—is unique. And the same is true of every breast cancer. The challenge is to better understand the differences in breast cancer biology. Researchers hope to develop tests that can give us a fuller, more complete picture of a cancer's genetic makeup. Then treatments can be prescribed that are personalized for each cancer.

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