Racial Disparities Found in Breast Cancer Screening

Race influenced time to completion of workup in low-income women with suspicious findings

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 28 (HealthDay News) -- In a statewide screening program for low-income women in South Carolina, race appeared to affect the time to completion of diagnostic workup following suspicious breast abnormalities, according to research published online Oct. 26 in Cancer.

Swann A. Adams, Ph.D., of the University of South Carolina in Columbia, and colleagues analyzed data from 729 African-American and 901 European-American women who underwent screening mammography in the Best Chance Network (BCN), which provides free mammography screenings to economically disadvantaged women in the state. All were classified as suspicious for malignancy or highly suggestive of malignancy.

The researchers found that race was not significantly associated with overall completion of mammographic workup; however, race was a factor that influenced the time to workup completion. After taking completion time into account, African-American women were 12 percent less likely to complete their mammographic workup.

"Given the target population of the BCN, we believe that these results are particularly applicable to economically disadvantaged African-American women who live in rural areas. The finding that no disparities existed in the overall completion of the workup also [is] an encouraging evaluation of the NBCCEDP [National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program], because it suggests that the program is making progress toward eliminating racial disparities in breast cancer and offers areas for strengthening the overall program (i.e., decreasing the total time interval)," the authors conclude.

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