Black women were nearly two times more likely to have cardiac side effects than white women, according to a study of women diagnosed with stage I-III HER2 positive breast cancer from 2004-2013.
These disparities persisted even when adjusting for known risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity as well as for socioeconomic differences. The cardiac side effects measured were either heart failure or a significant decline in ejection fraction, a measure of heart strength.
Memorial Sloan Kettering cardiologist Anthony Yu started the study when he noticed that a disproportionate number of his breast cancer patients were Black. “When I first started talking to others about it, we thought maybe it was just a coincidence,” said Yu. “But it eventually became clear based on my experience that there could be an underlying difference between Black patients and patients of other racial groups.”
- See “MSK Researchers Target Side Effects More Common in Black Women with Breast Cancer” on the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center website (April 15, 2021)
- See the abstract of the scientific paper “Racial and Socioeconomic Disparities in Cardiotoxicity Among Women With HER2-Positive Breast Cancer” by Mohammed Al-Sadawi et al.