Comorbidity May Affect Breast Cancer Survival in Blacks

Diabetes, hypertension may explain lower survival in blacks compared to whites

TUESDAY, Oct. 11 (HealthDay News) -- A higher incidence of diabetes, hypertension and other comorbidities may be one reason why black breast cancer patients have poorer outcomes than whites, according to research published in the Oct. 12 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

C. Martin Tammemagi, Ph.D., of Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, and colleagues studied 264 black and 642 white breast cancer patients. All the women were diagnosed with breast cancer between 1985 and 1990, and followed up for a median of 10 years.

Among the black patients, 24.9% died of breast cancer and 37% died of other causes. Among the white patients, 18.3% died of breast cancer and 32.1% died of other causes. The researchers found at least one comorbidity in 86% of black patients and 65.7% of white patients.

"Diabetes and hypertension were particularly important in explaining disparity," the authors state. "Effective control of comorbidity in black breast cancer patients should help improve life expectancy and lead to a reduction in survival disparities."

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