Black Women Less Likely to Pursue BRCA Testing and Cancer Risk Reduction Measures


“Findings from a population-based study reported at the 2016 ASCO Annual Meeting revealed that young black women with breast cancer are much less likely to undergo testing for the BRCA gene than other women. Or, if they do carry a BRCA mutation, they are less likely to get a prophylactic mastectomy or salpingo-oophorectomy to reduce the risk of developing cancer.

“The research identified disparities in recipients of BRCA testing between non-Hispanic white women, Hispanic, and black women, with the latter being the least likely to undergo testing. Likewise, black women who were BRCA carriers were less likely to undergo risk-management practices compared with their white and Hispanic counterparts.

“ ‘We need to understand the reasons for these findings,’ said lead study author Tuya Pal, MD, a clinical geneticist at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida. Ultimately, it’s the patient who must decide whether to have genetic testing and take prophylactic measures for risk management, Pal said.”

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