Friday, December 20, 2013

NY Times Gets It Wrong On Racial Gap In Breast Cancer Survival

The New York Times highlights a racial gap in breast cancer survival in an article, today, Dec 20, 2013, "THE CANCER DIVIDE: Tackling a Racial Gap in Breast Cancer Survival" by Tara Parker-Pope. The Times got it wrong.

The NY Times has bought into the Pink industrial complex ideology that breast cancer screening is the paramount health exam for women and that breast cancer is the most serious health threat facing women today.

Diabetes is much more serious threat in the US. Diabetes and pre-diabetic conditions amplify the effects and increase the mortality rates of other diseases. Prevention of Diabetes would do more to save women's lives from breast cancer than more screening. A recent study, published Sept 2013, shows that when ones controls for diabetic conditions there is no difference in women's mortality rates from cancer among different racial/ethnic groups despite the known differences in breast cancer screening rates among the various subgroups.

The comment I published to the New York Times article on the racial gap in breast cancer survival.
When one controls for incidence of diabetes, there is no difference in mortality cancer rates between Black women, White women or other ethnic/racial groups.

From American Journal of Epidemiology, Am. J. Epidemiol. (2013), "All-Cause, Cardiovascular, and Cancer Mortality Rates in Postmenopausal White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian Women With and Without Diabetes in the United States
The Women's Health Initiative, 1993–2009
" First published online: September 17, 2013:

"To our knowledge, the present study is the first to show that hazard ratios for mortality outcomes were not significantly different between racial/ethnic subgroups when stratified by diabetes status. Because of the “amplifying” effect of diabetes prevalence, efforts to reduce racial/ethnic disparities in the rate of death from diabetes should focus on prevention of diabetes."

Blacks are almost twice as likely to have diabetes as Whites. American Diabetes Assoc.

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