I Was Surprised by this Chart

Source: Wall Street Journal.

Comments (16)

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  1. Peterson says:

    Finding remedies to absolve breast cancer is an important task. With the increase in attention, hopefully some headway will be made in the next couple years.

  2. Mulligan says:

    The most headway has been made in profiteering. Just ask the Susan G. Komen foundation.

  3. Andrew O says:

    It is very important to promote awareness of the importance for all women to get mammograms and practice preventative care for early detection. Right now we can’t rely on a remedy and must emphasize the importance of early detection.

  4. Angel says:

    It is sad how the lack of any relevant research advancements but the hike in profits for non-profits and foundations attempting to “fund” breast cancer research.

  5. John Kumar says:

    Why are white women at higher risk of having breast cancer?

  6. Caroline says:

    “Critics argue that trials haven’t shown big benefits from early testing. But most published studies use old numbers, compiled when diagnostic methods and treatments were much less advanced. The studies also had significant biases that skewed the results.”

    What’s the point of using old data to prove a theory that doesn’t even add up? If the up-to-date resources and technology is there, there is more knowledge and experience as to how to detect it and treat it, then why not? According to Dr. Weiss there were about 1.3 million new cases of breast cancer detected last year, f that’s the case, then why not try new strategies to decrease this number in the next few years? I think trying early detection definitely opens doors to less women dying of cancer, rather than sitting back and doing nothing at all.

  7. Studebaker says:

    Wow! The best strategy to avoid breast cancer is to be Asian or male.

  8. Jonathan says:

    I wonder why white women are so much more prompt to getting diagnosed with breast cancer than Asian women? Curious fact.

  9. Mercy says:

    Very interesting chart. However, I’m not sure why race plays such an important role in the likelihood of women getting breast cancer. Something worth looking into.

  10. Laura says:

    Scary stats! I read on another blog how there is so much controversy on whether they should continue developing new approaches on early detection of cancer. If the probabilities for women, especially white women, are so high when it comes to developing breast cancer at some point in their lives, then I surely support the idea of early detection. This is a serious matter and it should be taken under control.

  11. Corey says:

    @Mercy

    That is very interesting. I wonder if/to what degree genetics are the cause for the racial variation this graph reflects as opposed to socio-cultural factors.

  12. Louise says:

    In many cases, “race” and “ethnicity” are arbitrary visual cues and may have little to do with actual genetic difference — for example, mapping genes has shown some individuals of different “races” to be more closely “related” than those of the same. How were racial divisions mapped in this study? Self-report?

    Socially constructed racial divisions are actually more apt to influence an individual’s risk than anything else. Some things to consider:

    1. White women may have more access to preventative care via affluence and thus be over-diagnosed with slow-growing or non-lethal cancers.

    2. A variety of other cultural factors, like diet, have huge implications for cancer risk. The average white woman may be exposed to more toxins from processed foods than the average Asian woman, for example.

  13. Cindy says:

    Breast cancer is a cancer with a genetic marker that strongly correlates with high risk of aggressive cancer at a young age. Perhaps white women are more likely to be BRCA-positive?

  14. Gabriel Odom says:

    By the numbers:
    A cancer tumour will double in size once every 100 days, on average.

    The smallest cancer mass currently detectable is about 1 cubic centimetre, or about 2^30 (about 1 billion cells). This means that the cancer cells have been growing for about 3000 days, or 8 years. That’s right, cancer is undetectable for the FIRST 8 YEARS OF GROWTH. At this detection, cancer is 90% survivable.

    The survivability threshold size for cancer is approximately 1000 cubic centimetres, or about 2^40 (about 1.1 trillion cancer cells). The cancer is lethal after 11 years of growth. At this detection, cancer is less than 10% survivable.

    This means that many people have cancer, but do not yet realize it. With current detection methods, we can only find cancer in its last 3 years of maturity. Our first priority should be better detection technology.

    Sources: http://www.karlloren.com/biopsy/p57.htm
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.3322/CA.2007.0010/pdf
    http://www.wired.com/medtech/health/magazine/17-01/ff_cancer?currentPage=all

  15. Lance says:

    Controlling for income might produce a more interesting chart. Since diagnosis is a function not only of the cancer’s presence, but the ability and willingness to get a diagnosis.

  16. Milton Recht says:

    Diagnosis is not he same as having breast cancer. The different rates in the chart could be due to the different rates that the women in the groups do self screening and go for mammographies and other breast cancer tests. The rate of cancer could be the same in the groups but the rate of using breast cancer diagnostic procedures could be different. The chart is misleading unless one adjusts for diagnostic usage rates. A second chart showing deaths due to breast cancer along with the one presented would be helpful. Breast cancer mortality is probably very similar among the groups but their use of doctors and of medical procedures to diagnose cancer may differ.