1 in 4 black women refuse cancer therapy

May 26, 2009 at 6:05 PM
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ATLANTA, May 26 (UPI) -- Nearly 1 in 4 African-American women in the United States with late stage breast cancer refused chemotherapy and radiation therapy, researchers said.

Study leader Dr. Monica Rizzo of the Emory University School of Medicine and Emory University's Avon Comprehensive Breast Cancer Center at Grady and colleagues reviewed stage III breast cancer data from 2000- 2006 from an inner city hospital in Atlanta that serves a large African-American population.

The investigators identified 107 cases of stage III breast cancers diagnosed and/or treated at this hospital over the six years of study. Approximately 87 percent of these cases were in African-American women.

Chemotherapy and radiation are recommended therapies for patients with stage III breast cancer; however, many women in this study decided to forgo these treatments.

The study, published online ahead of print of the July 1 issue of the journal Cancer, found 20.5 percent of patients with stage III breast cancer refused chemotherapy and 26.3 percent who should have received chest radiation refused.

The authors said the reasons why African-American women with advanced breast cancer often refuse necessary care are unclear.

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