New Study Finds Race Plays Role in Cancer Survival
Do cancer cells care if you’re black or white? Of course not. However, a new study by PCRM researchers finds not only that race and ethnicity play a role in determining who is at greater risk for cancer and who is less likely to survive, but that simple diet changes could help reduce those racial disparities.
The report, written by Hope R. Ferdowsian, M.D., M.P.H., and Neal D. Barnard, M.D., and featured in the July issue of Ethnicity and Disease, analyzed data from 25 previously published papers and reports. The report shows that one’s race and ethnic group determine, in part, who is at greater risk for and who is less likely to survive certain types of cancer. African-American men, for example, are more likely than white men to be diagnosed with prostate cancer and to die from it. African-American women have a higher breast cancer mortality rate compared with white women, despite the fact that fewer are diagnosed with the disease.
“Racial and ethnic disparities are particularly evident for breast and prostate cancer, two malignancies strongly affected by sex hormones in the body,” says Dr. Ferdowsian, the lead author, who is research director at the Washington Center for Clinical Research. “Evidence is mounting that a low-fat, high-fiber vegetarian diet can alter hormone concentrations in the body, minimizing the hormones’ role in fueling tumor growth.”
In addition to her role at the Washington Center for Clinical Research, Dr. Ferdowsian also cares for underserved patients in the District of Columbia.