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Malay breast cancer patients fare worst: Study

They are more likely to die than Chinese and Indian patients, new study finds

Published on Sep 7, 2012 6:00 AM
 
Malay women with breast cancer are more likely to die than Chinese and Indian women with the disease, according to new joint research by a Singapore hospital and a Malaysian one. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

Malay women with breast cancer are more likely to die than Chinese and Indian women with the disease, according to new joint research by a Singapore hospital and a Malaysian one.

They tend to be diagnosed younger with larger tumours and at later stages. Malay women also had more malignant and aggressive tumours compared to Chinese and Indians with similar tumour sizes.

The links between ethnicity and breast cancer survival rates emerged in the study of 5,200 patients from the National University Hospital (NUH) and University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) in Kuala Lumpur.

Previous Western studies have shown ethnicity to affect breast cancer outcomes, said one of the researchers, Assistant Professor Mikael Hartman of the National University of Singapore's Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health.

 
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Background story

Statistics for each race

MEDIAN AGE AT DIAGNOSIS (YEARS)

Chinese - 51

Malay - 46

Indian - 53

MEDIAN TUMOUR SIZE (DIAMETER IN MM)

Chinese - 25

Malay - 35

Indian - 30

TUMOURS THAT SPREAD TO THE LYMPH NODE (PERCENTAGE)

Chinese - 42.9

Malay - 53.6

Indian - 48

PATIENTS WHO COMPLETED TREATMENT (PERCENTAGE)

Chinese - 92.7

Malay - 79.8

Indian - 90.2

PATIENTS WHO SURVIVED AFTER 5 YEARS (PERCENTAGE)

Chinese - 75.8

Malay - 58.5

Indian - 68

PATIENTS WHO SURVIVED AT STAGE 3 AND STAGE 4 (PERCENTAGE)

Chinese - 43.7

Malay - 34.4

Indian - 43.3