Race Traced to Delays in Breast Cancer Treatment

Study finds black women more likely to have late diagnosis, treatment than white women

TUESDAY, March 9, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Black women are more likely than white women to experience delays in diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer, says a U.S. study in the March 8 online edition of Cancer.

Income, health insurance and the means of detection account for some, but not all, of the delays in breast cancer treatment experienced by black women.

The study is the first to examine differences between black and white women in breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

It included 251 black women and 580 white women with breast cancer in Atlanta. The women ranged in age from 20 to 54 at the time of their diagnosis.

Most of the women started receiving treatment within two months of their diagnosis. But the study found 22.4 percent of black women and 14.3 percent of white women reported delays of three months or more before they began to be treated for their breast cancer.

Method of breast cancer detection, poverty index, insurance status, marital status and mammography history were some of the factors that appeared to contribute to the race-associated delays in treatment, the study says.

The researchers suggest that improvements in access to health care may help reduce racial differences in medical care for breast cancer. But they add more research is needed to pinpoint the exact causes of the diagnosis and treatment delays revealed in the study.

The study was conducted by University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center researchers, along with colleagues from Emory University and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about breast cancer.

SOURCE: John Wiley & Sons Inc. news release, March 8, 2004
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