The founder and lead surgeon of the North Texas Cancer Center at Wise talks about the risk African-American women face for breast cancer.
Decatur, TX, – While more than 230,000 American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the coming year, many of those cases will be classified as low risk and highly treatable. Women diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer may face a more challenging battle though. African-American women especially may find themselves at higher risk than others for this diagnosis, researchers are finding.
“Triple-negative breast cancer is a tumor type that is negative for estrogen and progesterone receptors, and HER2,” explains Dr. Gregory Echt, founder and lead surgeon at the North Texas Cancer Center at Wise. “These characteristics mean the cancer is not fueled by hormones, which can make standard treatments ineffective.”
Triple-negative breast cancer is found in an estimated 10 to 20 percent of all cases diagnosed each year. Although more difficult to treat, successful outcomes are not entirely out of reach. This is especially so when tumors are detected and treated early. Those points make understanding risks critical.
A multinational research project that has been active for more than 10 years has shed light on the increased risks African-American women may face for triple-negative tumors. While the study showed an overall increase in the diagnosis rate of breast cancer in black women, the uptick in triple-negative cases has researchers especially concerned.
While more verification is needed to determine if the link is definitive, researchers and clinicians say the findings show a need for enhanced vigilance in the African-American community.
“As it is with most forms of cancer, triple-negative tumors are much more likely to be successfully treated if detected early,” says Dr. Echt. “The findings indicate that African-American women and their doctors need to be committed to routine screening and lowering other potential risks.”
Women diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer will find their initial prognosis is poorer for the first-five years. After the five-year mark, disparities in survival likelihood diminish and eventually go away. Treatments for this form of cancer include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
About North Texas Cancer Center at Wise
North Texas Cancer Center at Wise, a division of Choice Cancer Care, is now operating as the Cancer Center at Wise Regional and is one of the most renowned cancer treatment centers in Texas. The center unites some of the best cancer doctors and surgeons, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists. Our expert team delivers superior cancer treatment in Texas, with the best results available.