Health Diaries > The Breast Cancer Blog

October 8, 2007

White Breast Cancer Patients More Likely to Get Chemo

A new study has found that white women with breast cancer are three times more likely than black women to receive chemotherapy treatment and five times more likely to receive Tamoxifen treatment than black breast cancer patients.

Part of the problem may be that doctors treat white patients differently than black patients.

... one factor may be physicians' ability to communicate effectively with their patients.

"There has been some literature showing that physicians' perception of the patient may be affected by race," said Smitherman. "This includes perceptions of patients' ability to understand choices, a sense of affiliation with patients and the ability to engage patients."

"When we walk into a patient's room, it's not like there's pixie dust and we leave everything back at the door."

One other reason for the disparity, according to researchers, may be that many in the black community are distrustful of the medical establishment.

"There is some, perhaps appropriate, distrust of the medical community," said Smitherman. "It's been shaped from the Tuskegee study on down, and this is passed down through the generations," he added, referring to a notorious study in which black men were not informed of their diagnosis of syphilis, and in some cases, were denied treatment.

Thinking about the story we posted a couple days ago about the woman who had a double mastectomy after being misdiagnosed with breast cancer, perhaps all of us should be just a little distrustful of the medical establishment.

Racial Disparities Affect Breast Cancer Treatment


October 5, 2007

Gatorade and the NFL Auction Pink Towels for Breast Cancer

As part of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Gatorade is teaming up with the NFL to raise funds for breast cancer. The NFL has declared Oct. 6 and 7 NFL Breast Cancer Awareness Weekend.

During the 14 games played on those days, players such as Peyton Manning will be using special edition pink Gatorade towels. The towels will be autographed by the players and put up for auction.

Proceeds from the auction will go to two breast cancer organizations, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.

pink Gatorade towel

Visit the NFL auction site to take part.

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February 7, 2007

Breast Cancer Treatment Doubles Leukemia Risk

A new study suggests that women 65 and older who took growth factors to boost their immune systems during chemotherapy doubled their risk of developing leukemia.

The researchers noted that the absolute risk remained small, and said the benefits of growth factors probably still outweighed their risks. But it is one more thing for cancer patients to take into account when deciding on a course of treatment.

Breast cancer treatment found to boost leukemia risk

February 7, 2007

Triple Negative Breast Cancer Affecting Many Latinas

New research has found that Latinas are getting an aggressive form of breast cancer - known as triple negative carcinoma - at alarmingly high rates. African-American women were already known to have high rates of this kind of breast cancer.

The findings are alarming not only because triple-negative cancers can be so deadly, but also because many Latinas can face multiple barriers to obtaining comprehensive health care, from the most basic preventive screenings to sophisticated treatment regimens.

Aggressive breast cancer hits Latinas

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