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Experts Report Breast Cancer Has Multiple Disease Subtypes

Posted on September 16, 2015 by Disability Help Group

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 200,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in 2015 and approximately 40,000 women will die from the disease. As researchers strive to find better treatments, new research has come to light about the nature of the disease.

A group of researchers from some of the leading U.S. centers for cancer research including the American Cancer Society, the North American Association of Cancer Registries, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Cancer Institute, recently published a report regarding classification of breast cancer. The report, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, classifies the disease into four subtypes.

The subtypes are classified by the type of tumor present in the breast tissue and defined by hormone receptor status and expression of the HER2 gene. The least aggressive subtype, HR+/HER2- was most common in non-Hispanic white women while the most aggressive subtype, HR-/HER2- was most common among non-Hispanic black women.

This understanding of subtype severity and risk in certain ethnic populations may help improve treatment and risk analysis. Researchers hope to use this information to develop more targeted treatments specific to the subtype of the cancer.

As we learn more about breast cancer, the Social Security Administration may make adjustments to its eligibility rules for disability benefits.