Genetic Testing and Treatment Outcomes for Women of Color with Breast Cancer
Did you know…doctors and researchers estimate that 5-10% of breast cancer cases are the result of gene mutations that are passed from parents to their children.
Furthermore, some new research suggests that women of color face the same genetic likelihood of hereditary breast cancer as women of other races, however, women of color tend not to undergo genetic testing as frequently. Women of color are about 40% more likely to die from breast cancer than white women. They are also more likely to develop breast cancer at an earlier age.
A note for the reader, the term “women of color” refers broadly to non-white women. When new research is released or other sources use different terms, such as “Black women or African American women”, we will use those terms.
Genetic testing does not prevent breast cancer, however, it can help a person and their doctor become aware of their potential risk and seek earlier screening, diagnosis, and treatments. All, combined with a balanced approach to overall health, can help to improve outcomes. Genetic mutations and breast cancer risk for women of color According to the American Cancer Society, doctors tend to believe that white women are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer than African American women. However, this cap in statistical measurement is closing due to researchers learning more about the prevalence of breast cancer in women of color. In fact, researchers have concluded that women of color are more likely to:
- develop breast cancer before the age of 45
- die from breast cancer
- develop triple-negative breast cancer
According to the Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI), African American women are more likely to receive a diagnosis of advanced-stage breast cancer than white women. Furthermore, their tumors are also more likely to grow and spread to other areas of the body, know as metastatic. The BWHI also states that both genetics and socioeconomic reasons may play a role in worsened clinical outcomes for women of color compared with those of other races. In one recent study, researchers surveyed Black women in random public locations. They found that 88% of respondents were not aware of specific BRCA1 or BRCA2 testing, the most common testing for breast cancer gene mutations.
The researchers indicate that removing barriers to testing is necessary to help women of color undergo more frequent testing. Genetic testing and treatment Genetic testing can play a largely important role in determining your personal and family’s risk of developing not just breast cancer, but a multitude of cancers. It is important for doctors to educate and empower women of color about breast cancer risk and the importance of a hereditary cancer screening. Early detection is one of the most important factors when treating breast cancer. The detection of cancer in women of color is slower than in other groups.
Takeaway Research has shown genetics play a role in up to 10% of breast cancer cases. Research has also shown that women of color are up to 40% more likely to die from breast cancer. Doctors should educate and empower women of color to learn about their personal and family’s risk factors. Understanding these risk factors and seeking genetic testing can help women of color undergo proper screening to diagnose and treat breast cancer sooner, which may lead to better outcomes.
What does this mean for you? Identify your breast cancer risks through genetic tests. Genetic testing can further the information on the genes you or a loved one carry. Research shows that genetic testing can help your provider recommend more precise treatment options. Genetic testing can also help you determine whether you (or your loved one) are at an increased risk for cancer and how to improve the prognosis.
Vita Medical Solutions is proud to partner with laboratories to facilitate access to advanced hereditary cancer (CGx) genetic testing.
Learn more about your personal and family genetic makeup and personalized medicine options through our genetic test offerings. Read more specifically about CGx testing here:
With qualifying insurance, this test can cost you nothing out of pocket. Click below to schedule a call with one of Vita Medical’s Patient Services Consultants to find out your eligibility.
Call us at 1.800.590.9292 (toll-free) or email at [email protected].
Test. Know. Educate. Advocate.