The study suggests that black women should start breast cancer screening at a younger age

The study suggests that black women should start breast cancer screening at a younger age

Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer among women The second leading cause of death is cancer in the United States of America. Although it is less prevalent among blacks than among white women in the United States, black women are more likely to die from this disease.

the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)—a group of independent medical experts who make recommendations about clinical preventive services, such as screening tests—recommends that women begin breast cancer screening at age 50. However, the group notes that women do have the option to start getting mammograms earlier, starting at 40.

Researchers are now participating in Great new study They suggest that health policymakers and clinicians consider screening black women for breast cancer earlier than other racial and ethnic groups, starting at age 42. This strategy, the researchers said, could reduce the breast cancer mortality gap that exists between black and white women.

“The current one-size-fits-all policy of screening all women of a certain age may not be fair, equitable, or optimal,” the researchers wrote in the study, which was published in the journal JAMA Network Open last week.

A nurse prepares a patient for a mammogram.

A nurse prepares a patient for a mammogram. (Getty Images)

Although black women are diagnosed with breast cancer at rates similar to other races, their mortality rates are exponentially higher. Compared to white women, Black women have a 4% lower incidence rate. from breast cancer but there is a 40% higher risk of dying from the disease.

The large disparity in breast cancer mortality between the two groups has remained stable since 2011 after widening in the past. Three decades, according to the researchers.

The study looked at a total of 415,277 breast cancer deaths in the United States from 2011 to 2020. The dataset included age groups, race, and ethnicity.

The researchers then estimated the 10-year cumulative risk of dying from breast cancer in the general population after reaching the age of 50 — the time when the USPSTF recommends that women begin mammograms every two years. Based on the data, the study authors concluded that black women reach this risk level at 42, about eight years earlier than white women, and suggested it would make sense to screen them earlier.

“The take-home message for clinicians and health policymakers in the United States is simple. Clinicians and radiologists should consider race and ethnicity when determining the age at which breast cancer screening should begin,” Dr. Mahdi Falah, co-author of the study and chair of the Prevention Group of cancer risks at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, Germany, he told CNN.

Robert A. Smith, Senior Vice President The American Cancer Society’s Cancer Screening said the study was “well done,” and is expected to “spark significant discussion about the persistence of disparities in the risk of dying from breast cancer between black and white women.”

A young black woman prepares for a breast exam and mammogram from her gynecologist.

Young black woman preparing for breast examination and mammogram. (Getty Images)

Rachel Friedman, MD, a breast oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, told Yahoo News in an email.

She noted that current breast cancer screening guidelines already recommend that the time a woman begins routine mammograms depends on her cancer risk. However, race and ethnicity have not traditionally been factors that are considered in these decisions, and perhaps they should be.

Historically, as the study authors note, guidelines for cancer screening are based on risks in the general population, Smith said, although specific groups may have different levels of risk.

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“There are more and more calls to tailor recommendations not just to group differences but to individual differences, as individuals in groups can have a similar variance in risk that we see between groups,” Smith said in an email.

But Smith and Friedman note that breast cancer screening recommendations for many medical groups actually differ somewhat from the USPSTF guidelines cited in the study.

Black woman performing a breast self-examination at home.

The woman performs a breast self-examination at home. (Getty Images)

“The American Cancer Society recommends that all women begin screening at age 45,” Smith said, adding that women should also have the opportunity to start screening earlier. He explained that most women don’t wait until they’re 50 to get their first mammogram, and instead start screening in their early 40s.

Smith also said his organization is in the process of updating breast cancer screening guidelines.

“We are examining the scientific literature to see how screening guidelines might differ for women in different racial and ethnic groups, and other risk factors, in a way that would reduce risk-based differences and disparities in outcomes,” he said.

Although early screening may be beneficial for women of all races, some experts are skeptical that early screening of black Americans will significantly affect current disparities in death rates because, they say, these disparities are closely related to things like socioeconomics. Differences and differences in access to health care, which previous screening recommendations cannot address.

(A new study finds that black people are more likely to die from some types of cancer)

Experts say biological factors also contribute to the discrepancy in breast cancer death rate between black and white women. According to the Breast Cancer Research FoundationBlack women are disproportionately affected by more aggressive subtypes, such as triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) and inflammatory breast cancer. They are also more likely to be diagnosed at an early age and when the disease has advanced to an advanced stage.

The sonographer performs an ultrasound scan on the woman's body.

The sonographer performs an ultrasound scan on the woman’s body. (Getty Images)

Early screening may have some effect in reducing the breast cancer death gap because it may detect cancers early, Friedman said, but several factors go into the long-term outcome for a woman with the disease. Some, she said, include “tumor traits, tumor biology, treatments received, barriers to care, lack of access to quality care, and disproportionate degrees of poverty in black women compared to white women.”

Friedman explained that “the show is an important piece but certainly not the only one”. “In some places where screening rates are higher between races and ethnicities, you will still see differences in the mortality rate.”

Although Friedman believes the study’s findings are interesting and should be followed up with more studies, they are not enough to change current screening practices, she told Yahoo News.

The researchers who conducted the study acknowledged that multiple factors, including those highlighted by Friedman, contribute to the discrepancy in breast cancer mortality between black women and women of other races. But despite the complexity of these issues, the authors suggest this early testing strategy as an easy step that can make a difference.

“Making everything too complicated can lead to doing nothing,” the researchers said. “One could try starting from a first scientific step (such as race- and ethnicity-adapted screening) and assessing and building up more complex steps along the way and re-evaluation. Otherwise, the racial and ethnic disparity of early BC mortality (breast cancer) might persist or even widen again.” “.

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