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Blacks at Higher Risk for Cancer Returning

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GAINESVILLE, Fla., Dec 18, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Researchers said Thursday African Americans treated for head and neck cancer have double the risk of cancer recurring elsewhere in the body.

The researchers, from the University of Florida, also found black patients are far more likely to die within five years than white patients who received essentially the same treatment for the same type of malignancies.

The discovery adds to growing scientific evidence linking race with outcomes for various cancers, and drawing attention to the need for better identification of patients most at risk and for customized therapies, said Dr. William M. Mendenhall, with UF's Shands Cancer Center.

About 37,000 Americans are diagnosed with head and neck cancer each year, about 3 percent of all cancers. The cancer is most common in people who use tobacco or are heavy drinkers, but it can occur in individuals who have no such risk factors.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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