Dr. Edith Mitchell on Cancer Disparities Among African American Patients

Edith Mitchell, MD, FACP
Published: Wednesday, Jul 29, 2015



Edith Mitchell, MD, FACP professor of Medicine and Medical Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University, Director of the Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University, discusses racial disparities in breast and prostate cancer.

African Americans with cancer tend to have worse outcomes when compared to Caucasians. While many people assume this discrepancy is primarily due to a lack of assess to care, poverty, and other socioeconomic factors, there are distinct molecular differences in tumors between white and African American patients that often cause these disparities, explained Mitchell.

Triple-negative breast cancer, which has a higher mortality rate, occurs twice as frequency among African American woman. There is a lack of therapeutic options to treat this disease as drugs like tamaxifan and trituzimab, which have shown benefit in other breast cancer types, have no effectiveness in triple-negative breast cancer.

Prostate cancer also occurs earlier and has a higher mortality rate among African American men. More studies are needed to identify the risk factors based on race and to develop therapies to reduce disparities.



Edith Mitchell, MD, FACP professor of Medicine and Medical Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University, Director of the Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University, discusses racial disparities in breast and prostate cancer.

African Americans with cancer tend to have worse outcomes when compared to Caucasians. While many people assume this discrepancy is primarily due to a lack of assess to care, poverty, and other socioeconomic factors, there are distinct molecular differences in tumors between white and African American patients that often cause these disparities, explained Mitchell.

Triple-negative breast cancer, which has a higher mortality rate, occurs twice as frequency among African American woman. There is a lack of therapeutic options to treat this disease as drugs like tamaxifan and trituzimab, which have shown benefit in other breast cancer types, have no effectiveness in triple-negative breast cancer.

Prostate cancer also occurs earlier and has a higher mortality rate among African American men. More studies are needed to identify the risk factors based on race and to develop therapies to reduce disparities.


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