Studying the final cause of death

Cancer

October 14, 2005|By KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

Black women with breast cancer don't live as long as white women, but their deaths are more often caused by other health problems, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The findings underscore new thinking that patients and their doctors need to pay more attention to eating better, managing salt intake and exercising regularly. "Everyone worries about cancer staring them in the face, but the reality is, most breast cancer patients die of something else," said Diana Dyer, a registered dietitian from Ann Arbor, Mich., and a three-time cancer survivor. "Diet and exercise are a major treatment for all medical problems," she said.

The study followed 900 Henry Ford Health System breast cancer patients in ichigan for 10 years. At that time, 61 percent of black patients had died, compared with 50 percent of white patients.

"The key questions are, why is this, and what can we do to eliminate it?" said David Nerenz, co-author of the study.

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