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High-Risk Breast Cancer Linked to African Ancestry

Breast Self Examination 260 Jpg
Researchers from the University of Michigan have found that African ancestry is linked to an aggressive type of breast cancer called triple-negative breast cancer.  Studying both Ghanaian and African-American women with breast cancer, scientists found that 82% of the African women had triple negative breast cancer, while 26% of Black American women did. Triple negative breast cancer is considerably harder to treat because it requires that doctors individually target each of three receptors (estrogen, progesterone and the HER-2/neu protein). "The most significant recent advances in breast cancer treatment have involved targeting these three receptors. But these treatments do not help women with triple-negative breast cancer," said study author Lisa A. Newman M.D., M.P.H. "We hope that by studying breast cancer in African and African-American women we can identify biomarkers that might be useful for assessing risk or treating triple-negative breast cancer." Studies have shown that, like African-American women, Ghanaian women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at a younger age and are more likely to die from it.