Monday, 3 December 2012

Breast cancer more aggressive and has earlier onset in Chinese women

Breast cancers have a younger age of diagnosis in China
 by Michael Woodhead
Screening for breast cancer in China may need to start earlier because breast tumours are more aggressive and strike earlier than in western countries, Beijing clinicians say.
Researchers from the Department of Pathology at the Cancer Institute & Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College analysed the pathologic character of female breast cancers treated in seven tertiary hospitals in China between 1999–2008.
They found that on the whole breast cancers in Chinese women were similar in character to those seen in other Asian countries. However, breast cancers in Chinese women showed a younger age at diagnosis, larger tumor size, later tumor stage, than those typically seen in western countries, the researchers found.
They say the  lack of breast cancer screening in China might explain some of the difference as this would reduce the chance of early diagnosis.
Apart from  environmental and social economic factors, the differences of pathological features and biological markers between the Western and Chinese population may also reflect the magnitude of background breast cancer risk and differences in genetic background such as oestrogen receptor alpha gene polymorphisms.
"Our results suggest that Chinese women need breast cancer screening at an earlier age and that Chinese invasive breast cancer may be more aggressive than in western counterparts and need more specific therapeutic models," they conclude.
"Our study provides new findings showing that breast cancer can vary between different ethnic populations due to the magnitude of background breast cancer risk, genetic and/or environment discrepancies. We also [show] the urgent need to employ race-specific breast cancer screening, diagnosis methods and therapeutic models in China."
Source: International Journal of Cancer

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