In recent years, we have noted a rise in breast cancer among our Asian patient population within our center. Coming across this article in a recent ASCO Post seemed very appropriate.1
In contrast to other racial/ethnic groups in the United States, Asian Americans have experienced steadily increasing breast cancer rates over the past 15 years, according to findings published by Gomez et al in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.2
All Asian Americans groups, with the exception of Japanese, experienced an overall incidence increase. The largest increase was observed among Koreans, South Asians, and Southeast Asians. Rates increased for distant-stage disease among Filipinas.
All Asian Americans groups, with the exception of Japanese, experienced an overall incidence increase. The largest increase was observed among Koreans, South Asians, and Southeast Asians.
Rates increased for distant-stage disease among Filipinas.
Within California, proportionally more breast cancers expressed HER2 in Korean, Filipino, Vietnamese, and Chinese women than in white women.3, 4
Increasing trends of late-stage disease, particularly among Filipino, Korean, and South Asian women, suggest a need for higher rates of mammography screening in these populations. Mammography utilization rates in California are slightly lower in Asian American women than in other racial/ethnic groups, and among Asian Americans, Korean, and South Asian women have the lowest mammography utilization, consistent with their higher rates of later-stage disease.
Within my American Cancer Society Division, we have made an Asian-specific Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event designed for increased culturally awareness to breast cancer risk and prevention strategies. It has been a great success in this population where all materials were translated Asian dialects. Due to the relatively higher rates of HER2-overexpressing subtypes in some Asian American ethnicities, research should focus on the origin of this phenomenon which may help to clarify treatment in these groups of women.
What are you doing to address cultural-specific cancer risks?
The ASCO Post. Breast Cancer Rates Increasing Among Asian Americans. 2017 Apr 20.
Gomez SL, Von Behren J, McKinley M, et al. Breast cancer in Asian Americans in California, 1988–2013: increasing incidence trends and recent data on breast cancer subtypes. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2017 Apr 1.
Telli ML, Chang ET, Kurian AW, et al. Asian ethnicity and breast cancer subtypes: a study from the California cancer registry. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2011 Jun;127(2):471-8.
Chawla N, Breen N, Liu B, et al. Asian American women in California: a pooled analysis of predictors for breast and cervical cancer screening. Am J Public Health. 2015 Feb;105(2):e98-e109.
Male breast cancer accounts for about 1% of all breast cancer cases in the United States, therefore it can be a shocking diagnosis. During my career as a nurse practitioner in the field of breast oncology, I have been involved in the care of only five male breast cancer cases over the last 25 years.
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