Ethnic disparity in breast cancer survival in southern Thai women

Publication Abstract

Virani, Shama, Carlos Mendes de Leon, Elizabeth C. Wetzel, Suphawat Laohawiriyakamol, Pleumjit Boonyaphiphat, Alan Geater, Celina G. Kleer, Judy Pang, et al. 2018. "Ethnic disparity in breast cancer survival in southern Thai women." Cancer Epidemiology, 54: 82-89.

Background Breast cancer has the highest incidence in women of all cancers and its burden is expected to continue to increase worldwide, especially in middle-income countries such as Thailand. The southern region of Thailand is unique in that it is comprised of 30% Muslims, whereas the rest of Thailand is 95% Buddhist. Breast cancer incidence and survival differ between these religious groups, but the association between clinical subtype of breast cancer and survival has not yet been assessed. Methods Here we characterized differences in breast cancer survival with consideration to clinical subtype by religious group (Muslim Thai and Buddhist Thai women). We compared distributions of age, stage and clinical subtype and assessed overall survival by religion. Results Our findings show that Muslim Thai women with breast cancer are diagnosed at a younger age, at later stages and have shorter overall survival times compared to Buddhist Thai women with breast cancer. We also observe a higher proportion of triple negative tumors characterized in Muslim Thai women. Conclusions Our findings confirm previous studies that have shown lower survival rates in Muslim Thai women compared to Buddhist women with breast cancer and offer novel information on subtype distribution. To date, this is the first study assessing clinical subtypes in southern Thailand by religious status. Impact Our findings are critical in providing information on the role of clinical subtype in cancer disparities and provide evidence from the Southeast Asian region for global studies on breast cancer survival.


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