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ASCO: Follow-Up Care Lacking for Black Women With Breast Cancer

Genetic testing, risk-reducing surgery more likely for whites, Hispanics

WEDNESDAY, June 8, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Black breast cancer survivors in the United States are less likely than white or Hispanic women to get follow-up genetic screening and surgeries that can help prevent cancer recurrence, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from June 3 to 7 in Chicago.

Tuya Pal, M.D., a clinical geneticist at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute in Tampa, Fla., and colleagues evaluated Florida women diagnosed with breast cancer at or before age 50 from 2009 to 2012. The data were obtained from the state cancer registry.

The investigators found that 917 patients had BRCA testing after they were diagnosed, but the percentages varied racially. Sixty-five percent of white women were tested, versus 62 percent of Hispanic women and 36 percent of black women. Of the 92 women who tested positive for the BRCA mutation, 32 percent of black women had preventive oophorectomy, compared to 85 percent of Hispanic women and 71 percent of white women.

The researchers discovered similar discrepancies regarding preventive mastectomy within the BRCA-positive group: 94 percent of whites and 85 percent of Hispanics had both breasts removed preventively, while 68 percent of black women did. The differences held even after the researchers took into account such factors as insurance status and family history of cancer. The study did have limitations, the researchers noted. For instance, four of the black women in the study were still in active treatment, which could help explain the lower rates of oophorectomy in that group.

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