Are there racial genetic differences in breast cancer? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Black women often experience breast cancers that are more advanced at the time of diagnosis, and may be more difficult to treat. A recent study looked for the presence of different genes among Black and white women with breast cancer to perhaps explain this. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, describes the findings.

Nelson: They looked at a really large amount of data from a large consortium where the contributors were women with breast cancer back from 1993. These were women diagnosed with breast cancer, they’re not selected in any way for age, ethnicity, age of onset for breast cancer, whether they had a family history. They had data on inherited gene defects for 12 different breast cancer susceptibility genes that they know of, and the most interesting thing about this in looking for differences between black women and white women is that there aren’t many. It’s sort of a large non-story.  :34

Nelson says these findings suggest that screening and access to care likely are involved. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.