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New study aims to learn why race plays a factor in breast cancer death rates

Some ethnic and racial groups in certain areas of the country experience more frequent diagnosis of breast cancer than others. For example, African-American women in North St. Louis City have higher rates of death from breast cancer.

In breast cancer health news, a new project spearheaded by Washington University in St. Louis' Program for the Elimination of Cancer Disparities and supported by the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization aims to discover why this disproportionate rate of breast cancer death exists in St. Louis.

"Although African-American women are less likely than white women to get breast cancer," Dr. Sarah J. Gehlert, a Washington University professor, told the St. Louis American, "They are 37 percent more likely to die from it. And in St. Louis, that disparity is even greater."

Science hasn't yet discovered why certain racial groups have higher death rates than others. One factor is that tumors appear to grow faster in African-American women, but the reasons behind this phenomenon remain unknown. Other racial groups, including Hispanics, Asians and Native Americans, have lower rates of breast cancer diagnosis and death, according to the American Cancer Society.
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