Predicting Breast Cancer Risk In African American Women Improved | DC Metro Area Medical Malpractice Law Blog

As reported in Medical News Today, scientists have developed a new, more accurate risk assessment model for breast cancer in African American women. The Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool, or Gail model, has been used for many years to determine breast cancer risk in all racial groups, however, much of the model is based on breast cancer data only from white women. The new study, called the Women’s Contraceptive and Reproductive Experiences (CARE) study, was conducted in order to gather data on African American women with and without breast cancer. The study was conducted by Mitchell H. Gail, M.D., Ph.D. from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, and his colleagues and is published in the November 27, 2007 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Gail expressed concern regarding the assumptions they were making for women of African American and other racial and ethnic origin and, in this regard, stated that “we have been underestimating the risk for African American women.” To build a new model, Dr. Gail and his colleagues used data on African American women with and without breast cancer, which they obtained from the CARE study as well as data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program. Altogether, the data collected came from 3,200 African American women, of which more than half had breast cancer.

The new model, now known as the CARE model, accurately predicted the overall number of cancers detected in African American women participating in one of the study trials. Moreover, the researchers also showed that the CARE model was a more reliable predictor than the Gail model for African American women aged 45 and older.   The researchers cautioned, however, that the CARE model is not recommended for women with a history of breast cancer, and it could underestimate the risk in certain groups, such as women with a certain gene variant.

More than 19,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in African American women every year, and nearly 6,000 die from it.

To view the abstract with regard to the above study, please click here. For more information about breast cancer, please see the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen For the Cure.

Previously on the D.C. Metro Area Medical Malpractice Law Blog, we have posted the following related articles:

  • Inflammatory breast cancer
  • Tips for a successful mammography
  • Young female smokers face a higher breast cancer risk
  • A study linking a breast cancer gene to fathers
  • Updated guidelines for early breast cancer detection

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