Austin Briefs
Black women continue to die from breast cancer at higher rates than white women, and certain biological differences may play a role in the discrepancy, according to a recently released study.

A new study conducted in partnership with the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine used information from previous investigations that looked into socioeconomic factors related to breast cancer. The new study compared 317 pairs of white and black women of similar ages and backgrounds. The goal was to determine if black women were still less likely to survive with the disease than the white women with whom they were paired.

“Biological factors most likely are responsible here,” said Dr. Kathy Albain, professor of hematology and oncology at Loyola and one of the authors of the new study, adding that the results indicate that compared to white women, black women “still had a worse overall survival rate after controlling for all the factors related to treatment quality.”

Of the 178,480 new cases of breast cancer in the United States this year, an estimated 19,010 will occur in black women, according to estimates by the American Cancer Society.

Of the 40,460 women projected by the American Cancer Society to die this year from breast cancer in the United States, 5,830 will be black.

Daley named in torture complaint

Mayor Richard Daley may become a defendant in a civil case from a convict who says police tortured him into a false confession.

Attorneys for Darrell Cannon, convicted of murder in 1983, petitioned to add Daley’s name to a 2005 complaint accusing numerous current and former officials of conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

The new complaint states that Daley conspired with Cook County State’s Attorney Richard Devine and former Chicago police commander Jon Burge to cover up systemic torture of black suspects during the 1970s and ’80s. The new complaint also adds former Mayor Jane Byrne, who was in office when Cannon was allegedly tortured and then convicted.

According to a report by special prosecutors released last July, as state’s attorney, Daley in 1982 received evidence of police torture, but passed the reports on rather than investigate. According to the complaint, Daley’s failure to take action led to further police torture, including the torture and resulting wrongful conviction of Cannon. Cannon, imprisoned for more than 23 years for murder, claims that he confessed after police played Russian roulette with him, putting a gun in his mouth and twice pulling the trigger, among other torturous acts.

A spokesman for Daley declined to comment on the complaint.

150th anniversary of Dred Scott case

Tuesday marked the 150th anniversary of the Dred Scott Decision from 1857. The landmark U.S. Supreme Court case ruled that slaves could not be considered citizens of the United States.

In 1846, Scott, a black American slave, was taken by his master, an officer in the U.S. Army, from the slave state of Missouri to the free state of Illinois and then to the free territory of Wisconsin, where he would live for some time.

When the Army ordered Scott’s master back to Missouri, which was still a slave state, Scott returned with him. When his master died, Scott, with the help by abolitionist lawyers, attempted to sue for his freedom in the U.S. courts, claiming that he should be set free since he had lived on free soil for some time. Seven out of nine Justices ruled that no slave, or descendant of a slave, could be a U.S. citizen. Therefore, as a non-citizen, Scott, the court ruled, had no rights and could not sue for his freedom in American courts.

The court’s decision allowed slavery to spread into the western territories and was a major factor that led to the Civil War nearly four years after the ruling.

Compiled by Terry Dean and the Medill News Service