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Racial Variation in Median Age of Female Breast Cancer Diagnosis

MONDAY, March 12, 2018 -- The median age of diagnosis of female breast cancer is higher for white patients than for black, Hispanic, and Asian patients, according to a research letter published online March 7 in JAMA Surgery.

Sahael M. Stapleton, M.D., from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues analyzed the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program database for female patients aged 40 to 75 years with malignant breast neoplasms. Data were included for 747,763 female patients.

The researchers found that the median age at diagnosis was 59, 56, 55, and 56 years for white, black, Hispanic, and Asian patients, respectively. The proportion of patients with breast cancer diagnosed at younger than 50 years was higher among non-white patients (31, 34.9, and 32.8 percent among black, Hispanic, and Asian patients, respectively) than among white patients (23.6 percent). In order to achieve a capture rate for non-white patients that is similar to that of current guidelines for white patients at age 50 years, screening ages would need to be decreased to 47, 46, and 47 years for black, Hispanic, and Asian patients, respectively. The proportion of black and Hispanic patients presenting with advanced disease was higher than that of white or Asian patients (46.6 and 42.9 versus 37.1 and 35.6 percent, respectively).

"Our finding challenges established norms with regard to screening practices and provides empirical evidence that race-based screening should be considered," the authors write.

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Posted: March 2018