STUDY: Puerto Ricans More Likely to Die From Breast Cancer Than Other U.S.-Based Latinxs

By Kenrya Rankin Sep 09, 2016

A new study released yesterday (September 8) shows that when it comes to breast cancer—much like voting, religious beliefs and cuisine—Latinxs living in America are far from a homogenous group.

The Avon Foundation for Women joined with the Sinai Urban Health Institute to research breast cancer mortality (death) rates in cis women with Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Central American and South American heritage. The findings, which were announced at the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade’s biennial Breast Cancer Forum, revealed that while Latinx women have a lower overall mortality rate (17.71 deaths per 100,000) than non-Hispanic White women (22.41), there are wide variations between the groups.

Puerto Rican women die most often when they develop breast cancer, at 19.04 women per 100,000. Mexican-American women are next, with 18.78 deaths. Cuban women’s mortality rate is 17.89. And it drops to 10.15 for Central and South American women. NBC News notes that women from Central and South American countries were linked together because there was a dearth of data that broke out individual counties. Dominican women were not included because of “data limitations.”

There are 28 million Latinxs who identify as women living in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Breast cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in Latinx women—and the one that causes the most deaths.

“What this research has uncovered has the potential to greatly improve individualization of care for Hispanic women with breast cancer,” Bijou R. Hunt of the Sinai Urban Health Institute said in a press release about the study. “When healthcare providers begin to view the highly diverse population of Hispanic women as many unique groups—taking into account the ethnic identities, beliefs and cultures that could impact how they experience this disease—providers can better tailor their interventions and be even more culturally sensitive.”

More research is needed to uncover why some Hispanic women are more likely to die from breast cancer than others.