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African American Medical Doctor Showing Mammography Test Results to a Patient on a Tablet Computer in a Health Clinic. Friendly Assistant Explains Importance of Breast Cancer Prevention Screening. discussing estrogen blockers

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With advancements in modern medicine, the overall rate of new breast cancer cases has declined a total of 43 percent since 1989, says That is a promising number. However, it can trigger confusing emotions. You likely know someone who has had breast cancer. Most individuals do – sometimes there are several degrees of separation and sometimes the case hits very close to home. The American Cancer Society reports that, while Black women are diagnosed with breast cancer at slightly lower rates than white women, Black women are dying from breast cancer more – 40 percent more to be exact. The causes for this discrepancy are complex, rooted in (you guessed it) racist systems and maddening.

Today, however, there is some good news for all women at risk of breast cancer. For decades, breast cancer researchers have been hesitant to prescribe let alone thoroughly examine the effects of estrogen blockers treatment for breast cancer patients. But a new computer technology allowed one group of researchers to explore the long-term benefits of estrogen blockers, and the results were astounding. Here’s what we learned.


A Quick Review Of Estrogen Blocking Treatment

Doctor looking at a mammography

Source: Camelia Ciocirlan / Getty

There are different types of breast cancer, and the type evaluated in this particular study was estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. A woman with this form of breast cancer has tumors with estrogen receptors on them. These receptors can spur the growth of the tumor when estrogen is present. Estrogen-blocking treatment blocks the enzyme used by the body to make estrogen, slowing the growth of these tumors.

So, why isn’t every woman with this form of breast cancer being given this treatment? Medical researchers and providers have shied away from prescribing estrogen blockers for fear that the side effects would outweigh the benefits.

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