An Indian Civilizational Perspective

How race affects disease manifestation

Does race matter? It does matter in case of severity of disease and how nature affects people in different ways, says a study. This study studied how the incidence and severity of breast cancer was linked to race differences. Here is the result:

Epidemiology studies have long showed significant racial/ethnic differences in breast cancer survival among U.S. women. African American women have poorer five-year survival rates, and more advanced disease at the time of diagnosis than white women. Whether these disparities are due to a difference between races in tumor biology or to socioeconomic factors that impact healthcare access and/or the physician-patient relationship continues to be unclear.

One key piece of evidence is that, stage for stage, African American women have worse clinical outcomes than white women. However, staging disease is complex, taking into account tumor size and regional or distant disease spread. Also, there can be significant differences in survival within each stage. For example, survival at the same stage can vary by 40 percent depending on the number of lymph nodes with disease.

Dr. Alfred Neugut from Columbia University Medical Center, Russell McBride from Mailman School of Public Health and their colleagues hypothesized that racial differences in survival within stage could be attributed to differences in tumor size and the number of lymph nodes with disease between the two race groups.

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