As doctors become more familiar with the different types of breast cancer—those where the tumors are driven by hormones or certain genetic mutations, for example—they’ve learned that women with different racial and ethnic backgrounds may have different risks of developing certain types of cancer.
Biology and genetics certainly play a role, but in the latest study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, scientists describe some other factors that are just as important.
Recent studies show that African-American women tend to develop a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer called triple negative, which got its name because the tumors don’t recognize hormones like estrogen or progesterone or the protein HER2, all of which trigger abnormal growth but can be thwarted with current drugs. These women also tend to be at later stages of the disease when they are diagnosed, leaving them few, if any, options for treatment.
This article originally appeared on Time.com. To read more, go to Time.com.