NEW YORK - Black women have the highest rates of breast cancer for women under 40 and are more likely to die from the disease, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Bert Peterson, a breast surgeon at St. Barnabas Hospital, says cancer in black women is often more aggressive and is hard to treat.

Earlier this month, the National Cancer Institute announced that it received a $12 million grant to study the genetics of black women in an effort to pinpoint why survival rates are not improving for black women.

Dr. Peterson called the beginning of the new study a "much-needed breakthrough."

"This is important because we've got to do something to address these survival rates," said Dr. Peterson.

The doctor recommends getting a mammography, eating well and to keep persevering if diagnosed with breast cancer.