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Hispanic Women May Be More Likely to Die from Breast Cancer

A recent study finds that Hispanic women are more likely to die from breast cancer than non-Hispanic white women. The researchers said that increased awareness of this ethnic disparity is needed to improve survival in Hispanic women with breast cancer.

In a study conducted by Kathy B. Baumgartner, PhD of the School of Public Health and Information Sciences at the University of Louisville in Kentucky and colleagues, the researchers followed 577 Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women who were part of the New Mexico Women’s Health Study. The study found that Hispanic women were about 20 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than non-Hispanic white women. Previous research has also shown poorer survival among Hispanic women.

However, after adjusting for factors such as age, stage, lymph node involvement and estrogen receptor status, the researchers saw the risk drop to almost equal that of non-Hispanic white women. Dr. Baumgarter said that “the ethnic difference in breast cancer mortality may be mostly biologically based,” in a news release about the study.

Hispanic women who received chemotherapy were about 1.5 times more likely to die from breast cancer compared with non-Hispanic white women who received chemotherapy, even after adjusting for the factors stated above.

 “It is not clear how much of this ethnic difference in survival is due to socioeconomic factors influencing access to screening and treatment or to biological ones,” said Baumgartner.


  • The study was presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in December 2011. A news release about the study was published on the symposium’s web site,