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Black Cervical Cancer Patients Have Fewer Chemotherapy-Related Side Effects

2008-12-04 12:26

Black women who have advanced and recurrent cervical cancer seem to have fewer side effects from a commonly used form of chemotherapy than white women, according to a study published in the November issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reuters Health reports. Cisplatin, a platinum-based version of chemotherapy, is a common treatment for various types of cancer.

For the study, lead researcher Steven Plaxe of the University of California-San Diego examined data pooled from three studies that included information on 374 white and 125 black women who were treated with a variety of chemotherapy drug combinations for cervical cancer, including cisplatin.

Researchers found that 63% of black women, compared with 82% of white women, had severe neutropenia, a side effect related to frequent chemotherapy that is characterized by a drop in a white blood cell called the neutrophil. Black women also were less likely to have two other chemotherapy-related side effects -- leukopenia, an abnormally low white blood cell count, and thrombocytopenia, a reduction in platelet cells.

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In addition, when compared with white women, black women did not have an increased risk of the cancer worsening or of dying from their disease, according to the study. Plaxe said that the findings "support efforts directed at encouraging enrollment of all eligible women, particularly minorities, into clinical research studies" (Reuters Health, 12/3).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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