breaking news

How could government shutdown affect Springfield residents?

Why are more black women dying of breast cancer compared to white women?


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black women under 60 years old are more likely to die from breast cancer than white women in the same age group. In fact, data from 2015 showed black women had a 39 percent higher breast cancer death rate.

>> Read more trending news

New research from Emory University, the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute points to differences in health insurance as the culprit.

The findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, included data from the National Cancer Data Base on 563,497 black and white women between the ages of 18 and 64 who had been diagnosed with stage I to stage III breast cancer between 2004 and 2013.

The researchers examined five factors for the study:

  • Demographics (age, stage, state, year of diagnosis, etc.)
  • Comorbidities (other health conditions)
  • Insurance (lack of insurance, private insurance, Medicare/Medicaid, etc.)
  • Tumor characteristics (size, type, stage, etc.)
  • Treatment (chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, surgery, etc.)

The findings

They found that insurance explained one-third of the additional risk of death among the black women compared to white women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer.

Additionally, almost three times as many black women (22.7 percent) were either uninsured or had Medicaid insurance compared to white women (8.4 percent).

“Lack of insurance is a barrier to receipt of timely and high-quality treatment and screening services,” study authors wrote.

Other major factors that explained the differences: tumor characteristics (23.2 percent), comorbidities (11.3 percent) and treatment (4.8 percent).

Nearly 80 percent of the women in the study had the most common type of breast cancer (hormone receptor-positive breast cancer) and according to the researchers, when matched for factors such as insurance, comorbidity and others, those factors accounted for a combined 76.3 percent of the total excess risk of death in black patients.

The authors noted that when it came to treatment differences, black and white women contrasted most for hormone therapy, which, according to ACS, is typically used after surgery to help reduce the chance of recurrence.

“Several studies reported that black women are less likely to complete chemotherapy and hormone therapy,” study author Ahmedin Jemal told the ACS. “This could be for many reasons, including problems with transportation or the inability to pay for medicine.”

Additionally, previous research has shown that black women get lower quality mammograms and are less likely to have a follow-up appointment after receiving abnormal mammograms.

And insurance is vital for both high-quality cancer care and for early detection.

“We know so much about cancer prevention and control,” Jemal, who is also vice president of the ACS surveillance and health services research program, said. “But we’re not applying it to the whole population equally. We have to make the standard of care available to everyone, including people with low income. And blacks are disproportionately represented in that group.”

Read the full study at ascopubs.org

Learn more about the study and more about how women can protect themselves from breast cancer at cancer.org


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Health

How to survive a break up with your best friend
How to survive a break up with your best friend

When the Four Seasons sang that bit about "breaking up is hard to do," they clearly meant romantic relationships. Breaking up with a best friend might be even harder. "Friends aren't just icing on the cake of life – they're the cake," psychologist Thelma Duffey stated in Psychology Today. "Our friends are the people...
Premier planning to redevelop Good Sam site once hospital closes
Premier planning to redevelop Good Sam site once hospital closes

Premier Health officials have told this news organization that they want to "transform" the soon-to-be former main campus of Good Samaritan Hospital once the facility closes at the end of the year. They don't know exactly what redevelopment will look like on the site once the buildings are razed, but they say it's a process they will be...
Why Winter Restaurant Week is the perfect time to try somewhere or something new
Why Winter Restaurant Week is the perfect time to try somewhere or something new

Twice a year, every year, Dayton restaurant chefs break out their most unbeatable lineups of dishes that they think you must try.Restaurant Week is the opportunity to try a number of Dayton’s favorites without emptying your wallet. The 2018 Winter Restaurant Week is Sunday, Jan. 21 through Sunday, Jan. 28. “This is a week the...
5 questions every man in his 40s should ask his doctor
5 questions every man in his 40s should ask his doctor

Men are notorious for not wanting to go to the doctor unless they're desperate. But routine doctor's visits – especially when you hit your 40s and beyond – can help you be as healthy as possible. Getting regular care and screenings can help your doctor catch and treat issues while they're in their earliest stages. »RELATED: 4 health...
High-salt diet could cause dementia, study finds
High-salt diet could cause dementia, study finds

Consuming too much salt can be dangerous for your health. It can cause your blood pressure and cholesterol to skyrocket, but it might also cause memory loss, according to a new report.  Researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine in New York recently conducted an experiment, published in the Nature Neuroscience journal, to determine if salt...
More Stories