Disparities in breast cancer stage and mortality by race/ethnicity in the United States are persistent and well known. However, few studies have assessed differences across racial/ethnic subgroups of women broadly defined as Hispanic, Asian, or Pacific Islander, particularly using more recent data.
Using data from 17 population-based cancer registries in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program, we evaluated the relationships between race/ethnicity and breast cancer stage, hormone receptor status, treatment, and mortality. The cohort consisted of 229,594 women 40-79 years of age diagnosed with invasive breast carcinoma between January 2000 and December 2006, including 176,094 non-Hispanic whites, 20,486 blacks, 15,835 Hispanic whites, 14,951 Asians, 1,224 Pacific Islanders and 1,004 American Indians/Alaska Natives.
With respect to statistically significant findings, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Indian/Pakistani, black, Filipino, Hawaiian, Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Samoan women had 1.3 to 7.1-fold higher odds of presenting with stage IV breast cancer compared to non-Hispanic white women. Almost all groups were more likely to be diagnosed with estrogen receptor-negative/progesterone receptor-negative (ER-/PR-) disease with black and Puerto Rican women having the highest odds ratios (2.4 and 1.9-fold increases, respectively) compared to non-Hispanic whites. Lastly, black, Hawaiian, Puerto Rican, and Samoan patients had 1.5 to 1.8-fold elevated risks of breast cancer specific mortality.
Breast cancer disparities persist by race/ethnicity, though there is substantial variation within subgroups of women broadly defined as Hispanic or Asian. Targeted, multi-pronged interventions that are culturally appropriate may be important means of reducing the magnitudes of these disparities.