Triple-Negative Breast Cancer, Ethnicity, and Socioeconomic Status

Medical Xpress, May 12, 2014

An analysis of a large nationwide dataset finds that regardless of their socioeconomic status, black women were nearly twice as likely as white women to be diagnosed with triple-negative (TN) breast cancer, a subtype that has a poorer prognosis. The analysis also found that Asian/Pacific Islander women were more likely to be diagnosed with another subtype of breast cancer: so-called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)–overexpressing breast cancer. The study appears early online in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.

Triple-negative breast cancers are those whose cells lack estrogen receptors and progesterone receptors, and do not have an excess of the HER2 protein on their surfaces. Triple-negative breast cancers tend to grow and spread more quickly than most other types of breast cancer, and a lack of these receptors limits treatment options.


For the current study, scientists led by Helmneh Sineshaw, M.D., MPH, analyzed data from 260,174 breast cancer cases recorded in the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB), a national hospital-based cancer registry database jointly sponsored by the American College of Surgeons and the American Cancer Society. The analysis showed that patients with low socioeconomic status had higher proportions of triple negative breast cancers than did patients with high or moderate socioeconomic status. However, even after controlling for socioeconomic status, the difference remained: black women were 1.84 times as likely to be diagnosed with the triple negative subtype. {snip}


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  • John R

    Blacks are more likely to get the worst form of breast cancer? Hmmm….until now, I thought there wasn’t anything good about cancer! Okay! Calm down people! Joke.

    • Pro_Whitey

      As for the government conspirators who made this happen, again, boys, as with HIV, it’s not enough!

      • me

        It’s Mother Nature at work….thinning the predatory herd in order to preserve life.

  • TruthBeTold

    They won’t see the genetic component of this.

    They will only see the disparate impact on funding and care for black women.

    Watch for calls for money to be diverted to black breast cancer research.

    • Adolf Verloc

      I have no problem with funding research on diseases that affect particular groups. There is a positive side to this story from the viewpoint of racial realism – racial genetic differences are real, and need to be studied as a public health matter.

    • RyanP

      They should do this study in Canada where health care is socialized. If the same disparity exists(it will) then it cannot be blamed on funding. Of course then they will just play “white doctors are racist” card. Or there is no government program to drive black women to the doctor, etc.

  • dd121

    Dear Medical Xpress. I’m don’t care.

  • Truthseeker

    This proves that cancer is racist!

    • JohnEngelman

      The truth about racial differences is racist. That is why it is suppressed.

      • FeuerSalamander


  • I do care about this story. Logic would dictate that black females pay a premium for their medical insurance because of their tendency to be suseptible to this type cancer. But the reality is that white tax dollars will for the millionith time subsidze blacks.

    • DaveMed

      Well… to be fair, there are also diseases to which Whites are more susceptible.

      Of course, it’s clear that we subsidize Blacks in just about every single area of society. I don’t doubt that, on net, we are subsidizing their diseases’ treatments far more than they are ours.

  • I have read that a diet rich in animal fats increases the risk of breast cancer; perhaps eating McDonald’s for lunch five days a week – even the fries are cooked in beef tallow – isn’t such a good idea!

    • Alexandra1973

      Saturated fats don’t cause cancer. Polyunsaturated fats (vegetable oil) and anything hydrogenized is actually bad for you.

      Also, there’s a link between induced abortion and breast cancer, though what kind of breast cancer, I don’t know.

      So indirectly genetics may be responsible. Because of their genetics they’re prone to certain kinds of behavior, which can lead to unhealthy decisions.

      • The article I read mentioned that ethnic Japanese women in Japan almost never get breast cancer. Only when they adopt a Western diet – full of animal fats – here does the rate increase.

        I suspect it would be more correct to say that for most kinds of cancer, polyunsaturates are a far more important factor than saturated fats. Polyunsaturates form free radicals at high cooking temperatures, and free radicals are highly carcinogenic.

    • DaveMed

      Diet likely plays a significant role.

      (Body fat generally is a greater contributor to ER+ cancers, as excess body fat leads to excess estrogen production. But I guess that in ER- breast cancer, this might not be quite as relevant.)

      • My understanding is that excess body fat often leads to early onset of puberty in girls, which jibes completely with your statement about excess estrogen production.

  • LHathaway

    do ‘socio-economic’ factors cover growing up poor and in a big city?

  • Mrfinoni

    there is a direct correlation between breast cancer and early promiscuous behaviour. its the biblical sin against the body. women’s open system makes them more susceptible to viruses which lead to an increase in various diseases in later life.

    • DaveMed

      This is true for cervical cancer, but such a correlation has not been established for breast cancer – as far as I know.

      • Human papilloma virus causes cervical cancer, but not breast cancer.

        • DaveMed

          Exactly. I was taking issue with his statement that breast cancer is related to promiscuity.

    • Pamela

      BS. I am white, not promiscuous, came from moderate economical status, and was got triple negative breast cancer.

      I was healthy, lived right, and got cancer. It was not related to hormones, and doctors, don’t know why you get it.

      One theory is not enough sun, so therefore, lack of naturally acquired vitamin D. Being so white, Scottish white, I would slap on sunscreen all the time to avoid skin cancer.

      Black women who have dark skin in cold climates, would need lots of sun, which cannot be obtained in colder climates.

  • none of your business

    Just read the chapters on cancer and breast cancer in any physician or nursing school text. It is really simple. There are a few indicators for breast cancer. One is large breasts. Blacks tend to have longer legs, arms, toes and fingers and bigger hips and breasts than Whites. Ergo, since big breasted women are at risk for breast cancer, black women are at risk. Since welfare provides more actual income and benefits than a $30,000 a year job, welfare scroungers are actually wealthier than many workers. Black women who are not on welfare work at $30,000 to $200,000 goverment and education jobs, not classroom teachers but high ranking extremely well paid administrators at the school district office where they sit around all day eating, gabbing and squabbling.

  • none of your business

    Alexandra, I don’t mean to jump on you but there is no link between induced abortion, natural miscarriages and breast cancer. There are 2 links that do not prevent breast cancer but are small indications that a woman will not get breast cancer.
    Those 2 links are at least one full term pregnancy and small and medium sized breasts. Women who do not have cancer tend to have these 2 indicators. The full term pregnancy indicator was noticed a thousand years ago by medieval physicians and medics who observed that the breast cancer rate was much higher among nuns who did not have children than women who had children. They also noticed that prostitutes tended to be the only women who got cervical cancer.

    Cancer is hereditary. if breast cancer is in your genes being totally flat chested, having 5 or 6 children and a health food vegetarian diet and exercise and all the “you can change your genes by following the latest health fad” won’t prevent breast or any cancer.
    Even larynx cancer cannot be prevented by not smoking. Only abut 12 percent of larynx cancer patients smoke, despite the anti smoking propaganda.
    Cancer is hereditary except for extreme environmental causes such as working with asbestos for 30 years.
    I don’t believe any health food propaganda. I am 72 years old. I eat at least 2 dozen eggs a week for weight control. I eat lots of red meat, ice cream and butter. The only vitamins I take is vitamin D because I cover up in the sun to avoid liver spots.
    My cholestrol level is lower than normal. Despite all the red meat and butter my blood pressure is 95 to 100 in the mornings and never higher than about 110 in the afternoon i IF I have spent the day running around and being annoyed and hassled by traffic or clerks and post office people who don’t speak English. My Father was an alcoholic who smoked 2 packs a day and he died at 88 and his blood pressure was about the same as mine.

    In health, as in everything else, heredity rules.

  • none of your business

    Pamela, the reason you got breast cancer is because it is in your family health history. maybe the last 2 generations were lucky, but cancer like most diseases is hereditary.
    I don’t use sun screen, but for the last 30 years I wear hats, long sleeves that flop over the wrists and even gloves to avoid liver spots. It may look weird wearing gloves in the middle of summer but I have done all I can to avoid liver spots. I make those gauzy blouses with extra long sleeves with ruffles that I use to cover my hands in summer. I will never get any kind of cancer because it is not in my family history. End of story.

    Cancer is hereditary. Nothing you do will cause you to get cancer except for extreme environmental causes such as living in a nuclear test area or working in as an asbestos sprayer for 30 years.
    All the food and health studies are done by either:

    A The food producers
    B The rival food producers

    The red meat kills was invented by the poultry and fish producers and people believed it.
    The eggs kill you studies were done by Pillsbury Mills, Quaker Oats and oat and wheat farmer associations. The college vegetarian clubs are funded and organized by guess who? Jolly Green Giant vegetable growers and processors.
    I personally believe nothing I read except for CofCC, Vanguard and Stormfront.