Background: The purpose of this study was to compare the age at presentation of Black-American (Caribbean-American and African-American) and Caucasian breast cancer patients.
Study design: We reviewed the records of all breast cancer patients seen at King's County Hospital Center and SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn between 1982 and 1995. The patients were stratified based on ethnicity. Age distribution, median, and mean ages are compared for Black-American and Caucasian patients.
Results: The median age, mean age, and standard deviation for 1,632 African-American patients was 54, 54.17, and 13.11 years, respectively, whereas for 671 Caucasians patients it was 62, 60.35, and 13.85 years, respectively. Using the Student's t-test for equality of means there is a statistically significant difference in the mean age of presentation for the 2 ethnic groups with a p < 0.001 and a 95% confidence interval for difference (4.960, 7.405). More than one-third (37.7%) of Black-American breast cancer patients present younger than 50 years of age compared with 24.7% for Caucasians.
Conclusions: The younger age at presentation of Black-American breast cancer patients ought to be considered while setting screening guidelines for that group of women.