A new study has found that some black women with advanced breast cancer declined treatment with chemotherapy or radiation, though researchers did not know the reason why so many of the women opted against treatment, HealthDay/Las Vegas NOW reports. For the study, researchers examined records for 107 women with cases of advanced breast cancer that were reported at one inner-city hospital between 2000 and 2006. Eighty-seven percent of the women were black, and 29% of them had breast cancer tumors that did not respond well to new, targeted treatments. Of all women, 20.5% declined chemotherapy and 26.3% opted against radiation.
Lead researcher Monica Rizzo, an assistant professor of surgery at the Division of Surgical Oncology at the Emory University School of Medicine, said the reason why the women declined treatment is not clear, adding, "We looked at marital status, as well as religious background, of those women, and unfortunately, we were not able to find any clear identifier." Researchers speculated that fear of the medical system, poverty and cultural differences might play a role.
Rizzo's group has started a community outreach program through which a nurse practitioner and social worker follow up with breast cancer patients (Reinberg, HealthDay/Las Vegas NOW, 5/22).
An abstract of the study is available online.
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