AACR: Race, Ethnicity Seen As Factors in Breast Cancer Issues

These may influence diagnostic delay after screening, delay between diagnosis and treatment
By Eric Metcalf
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Oct. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Race and ethnicity may play more of a role in diagnostic delay following abnormal breast cancer screening than insurance status, and black women with breast cancer in Washington, D.C., may be more likely to have delays in treatment regardless of their type of insurance and socioeconomic status, according to two studies presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities, held from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3 in Miami.

In the first study, Heather J. Hoffman, Ph.D., of George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and colleagues analyzed data from 976 women examined for breast cancer between 1998 and 2009. The researchers found that, among women with government insurance, diagnosis delay was shorter in non-Hispanic whites than non-Hispanic blacks or Hispanics. This trend was also seen among women with private insurance; however, no significant differences were seen in uninsured women.

In the second study, Heather A. Young, Ph.D., also of George Washington University, and colleagues analyzed data from the D.C. Cancer Registry on breast cancer cases identified from 1998 to 2006. They found that black women were more likely than white women to go two months or more between diagnosis and treatment (odds ratio, 2.19).

"Overall, black women with breast cancer in the District of Columbia are more likely to experience delays in treatment regardless of insurance type, socioeconomic status, and cancer characteristics such as stage and grade. Racial disparities in time to treatment have not abated over time and may have increased," Young and colleagues conclude.

Press Release - Hoffman
Press Release - Young
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