Racial differences in breast cancer treatment persist despite similar economics

Oct 02, 2010

African-American women with breast cancer living in Washington, D.C., are more likely to experience delays in treatment regardless of insurance type, socioeconomic status and cancer characteristics such as stage and grade.

Heather A. Young, Ph.D., an associate professor of epidemiology at The George Washington University, said these findings underscore the difficulties in measuring the impact of race and socioeconomic status on health outcomes.

"There is likely something about race that we are still not capturing, whether it is different patterns of social support, access to transportation, or family burden, something is causing the disparities in care to persist," she said.

The data Young presented at the Third AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities was able to capture socioeconomic status, but only by measuring poverty status from U.S. Census data.

"We have yet to fully capture the variety of variables that encompass ," said Young.

What is clear, from this study and others, is that the time to treatment in Washington, D.C., for African-American women lags behind what is recommended by professional guidelines and is significantly longer than what is seen for white women.

"The situation is likely similar or worse in other urban areas, which may have higher rates of uninsured," said Young.

Using data from the D.C. Cancer Registry, which captured all cancer cases from 1998 to 2006, the researchers found that African-American women were 2.19-fold more likely to wait more than two months longer than white women from the time of diagnosis to treatment.

African-American women had a mean time to diagnosis of 26.1 days compared with 14.1 days for white women. This disparity appeared to increase over time. If these African-American were diagnosed between 2001 and 2003, they were significantly more likely to wait for treatment than if they had been diagnosed between 1998 and 2000. The gap widened even further between 2004 and 2006.

Explore further: Black men less willing to be investigated for prostate cancer

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

ER/PR negative tumors associated with insurance status

Nov 18, 2008

African-American women are at a higher risk for ER/PR negative breast cancer. A new study, to be presented at the American Association for Cancer Research's Seventh Annual International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention ...

Disparities in head and neck cancer patients

Oct 06, 2008

A new analysis finds considerable disparities in survival related to race and socio-economic status among patients with head and neck cancer. Published in the November 15, 2008 issue of Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the ...

Recommended for you

US women's awareness of breast density varies

11 hours ago

Disparities in the level of awareness and knowledge of breast density exist among U.S. women, according to the results of a Mayo Clinic study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Study shows why some brain cancers resist treatment

12 hours ago

Scientists at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center may have discovered why some brain cancer patients develop resistance to standard treatments including radiation and the chemotherapy agent temozolomide.

Researchers identify genes responsible for lung tumors

14 hours ago

The lung transcription factor Nkx2-1 is an important gene regulating lung formation and normal respiratory functions after birth. Alterations in the expression of this transcription factor can lead to diseases such as lung ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.