New research shows a sharp drop in U.S. breast cancer cases in recent years was limited to white women, possibly because they abandoned hormone replacement therapy in greater numbers than minority groups.
Many women stopped using hormone replacement therapy after a large study suggested in 2002 that the combination of estrogen and progestin used to treat menopause symptoms raised the risk of breast cancer and heart disease.
White women had been more likely to use hormone therapy, and were also the most likely to abandon the drugs after U.S. regulators warned about the cancer link in 2003, according to Dr. Dezheng Huo of the University of Chicago and the study's lead investigator.
"The sharp reductions seen in Caucasians aged 50 to 69 years were not seen among other ethnic groups," Hou told the American Association for Cancer Research.
Latinos and African Americans are vastly underrepresented among the state's cadre of physicians, a new report has found.
The study, released Wednesday, shows that Latinos represent one-third of the state's adult population but only 5 percent of California doctors. The disparity is similar for African Americans, who represent 7 percent of the state's population but only 3 percent of California's physicians.
The research, by the Center for California Health Workforce Studies at the University of California, San Francisco, also determined that non-white doctors are far more likely to work in primary care such as family practice and pediatrics and in lower-income communities where access to care is more challenging.
"Ethnic physicians are vital to the health of California, as they often care for the most vulnerable patients and are able to provide the most culturally competent care in this very diverse state," said Dr. Satinder Swaroop, who chairs the Network of Ethnic Physician Organizations, a group developed by the California Medical Association Foundation.
The UCSF report lists several recommendations to boost Latino and African American representation in medicine in California, including loan repayment programs for doctors willing to work in underserved areas.
After she opened her Philadelphia dermatology practice, Susan C. Taylor began thinking a lot about the beauty regimens of women with dark skin.
Since then, Dr. Taylor, who is African-American, has become co-founding director of the Skin of Color Center at St. Luke's and Roosevelt Hospitals in Manhattan and Chief Executive of Rx for Brown Skin, a skin-care line designed for Asian, Indian, Latino and black skin.
And for many years, she has applied her findings to her own daily regimen. As a student, she says, "I would get up in the morning and wash my face with soap, then fall into bed at night without washing again."
Now, she gently washes her face twice daily with her fingertips, rinses, and pats dry with a soft cotton towel. She tones and follows up with a moisturizer. "I started cleansing with gentle products and realized that my skin changed," she says.
It is important to avoid rubbing and scrubbing the skin, she notes. Brown skin is very easily irritated, and that can lead to lingering dark marks, discolorations and scars.
The African-American infant mortality rate is more than twice as high as white Americans and the preterm birth rate for black women averaged 17.6 percent, compared to the national average of 12.3 between 2002 and 2004.
These statistics, and others related to birth outcomes, are discussed in a new PBS documentary "When the Bough Breaks." This episode, scheduled to air Thursday, April 3, at 10:00 PM (check local PBS listings), is part of the four-hour series entitled "Unnatural Causes -- Is Inequality Making Us Sick?" that was produced by California Newsreel and presented by the National Minority Consortia of public television. The March of Dimes is an official outreach partner for the series in conjunction with other leading public health, policy and community-based organizations.
"Racial and ethnic disparities in premature birth are troubling and persistent," said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. "We face an urgent need for effective prevention programs and interventions to reverse a serious trend that has lasted too long. That's going to take influencing lawmakers to enact meaningful policy changes that will increase access to affordable health care coverage and committing more public dollars to prevention programs and to research so that we may find answers."
Last Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control released a study that found that one in four young women or 3.2 million teenage girls is infected with a sexually transmitted disease.
The kicker is, according to the study, nearly half of African American girls (or 48%) in this age group has least one of the following: the human papillomavirus (HPV), chlamydia, herpes, or trichomoniasis, with HPV leading the charge.
Yes, that's right, according to the CDC -- one out of every two African American girls ages 14-19 has an STD.
The report, sponsored by the CDC and conducted by the NCHS (National Center for Health Statistics), took a national sample of 838 young women. The study did not include the STDs syphilis, HIV or gonorrhea.
In a word, this is alarming.
Among women with uterine fibroids, African Americans tend to be younger and more severely affected than white women, researchers report.
"There are underlying genetic liabilities in some women to develop uterine fibroids, and this finding is reinforced by our study identifying race as a risk factor for symptom severity and age at diagnosis," Dr. Cynthia C. Morton told Reuters Health.
Black American adolescents who suffer depression after giving birth run a higher risk of becoming pregnant again soon after than those who are not depressed, researchers reported on Monday.
It may be that depression causes feelings of fatigue and helplessness that lead to less use of birth control methods, or that emotionally distressed teen mothers "seek out intimacy with additional sexual relationships," Dr. Beth Barnet and colleagues at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore reported.
Depression is a problem for both white and black teenage mothers, who in general are twice as likely as adult mothers to become depressed, the report said. And it also noted that previous research has found that black adolescent mothers suffer from depression at twice the rate of their white counterparts.
While it is no secret African Americans' skin may keep its youthful appearance longer than other ethnicities, many people don't know African Americans show facial aging in the outer corner of the eyes earlier than Caucasians, according to March's Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery(R) (PRS), the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). In fact, African Americans require extra attention to their eyes because of their particular ethnic characteristics.
"African Americans have a slight slant to their eyes, much like Asians do but not as pronounced," said Julius Few, MD, ASPS Member Surgeon and study co-author. "During aging, we found not only do the outer corners of the eyes of African Americans droop lower than Caucasians, they also droop sooner."