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Triple-Negative Breast Cancer: The Role of Genetics


  • Black women are disproportionately affected by TNBC

  • Genetic mutations, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, linked to increased risk

  • Further research needed to understand the full extent of genetic factors

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a difficult-to-treat breast cancer type. African American women are disproportionately affected by it, and Black women are more likely to develop TNBC than any other racial or ethnic group. This raises the question: what role do genetics play in increasing their risk?

The Role of Genes

Genes provide instructions for making proteins, essential for cell function. About 10% of all cancers are caused by inherited genetic mutations. Those carrying a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation may have an increased risk for developing aggressive forms like TNBC.

Researchers found that Black patients diagnosed with TNBC were more likely to carry either one of these two gene variants. This suggests multiple reasons behind the higher rates in Black individuals. Further investigation into environmental factors and genetic components can help doctors better diagnose and anticipate cases within patients' family histories.

Socioeconomic Issues

Socioeconomic factors and racism contribute to the higher rates of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) among African American women. Lower socioeconomic status is associated with increased health risks, and racial and ethnic minority populations often experience higher rates of poor health and disease. Racism, both interpersonal and structural, further exacerbates these disparities, negatively affecting the mental and physical health of millions of people.

Looking Forward

As science uncovers answers about triple-negative breast cancers and demographic differences, the importance of genetics in forecasting disease risks remains crucial. Gaining insight into specific mechanisms driving prevalence allows healthcare professionals to create targeted screening strategies and preventative treatments. Continued investment in research efforts can help protect everyone, regardless of their circumstances.

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