SEP 21, 2020 8:23 AM PDT

Black women have delayed and longer breast cancer treatment

A study led by UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers has quantified the healthcare inequities in cancer care. According to the team, one in seven Black women with breast cancer had delays in starting treatment. Compared to white women with breast cancer, Black women also had extended duration of treatment, say the scientists.

Their findings, reported in the journal Cancer, point toward the biases and discrimination that are systematized in the United States healthcare system. With Black women almost twice times as likely as white women to have a 60+ day delay in their treatment following diagnosis ((13.4% vs. 7.9%), Black women are 42% more likely to die from the disease.

Melissa Troester, Ph.D., and Marc Emerson, Ph.D., led the study. Emerson commented: "Our study found that Black women experienced delays in both treatment initiation and duration more often than white women. Even among women with low socioeconomic status, we still saw fewer delays among white women, underscoring the disparate experience of Black women, who appear to experience unique barriers."

The team looked at data from 2,841 women enrolled in the Carolina Breast Cancer Study Phase III. The data is part of a population-based study that has been following the causes, treatments, and long-term outcomes of breast cancer differ between Black and white women since 1993. Roughly half of the participants in the study were Black and all participants had stage 1, 2, or 3 breast cancer.

The authors say they used aggregated analyses in order to assess women based on their socioeconomic status, barriers to accessing care and treatments, as well as other patient factors that contribute to racial disparities.

"Describing and studying the complex set of factors that influence women's health care experience is a challenge, but this approach helps develop a more complex understanding," said Troester, the study's senior author and professor of epidemiology at the UNC Gillings. "We observed that the duration of treatment was a particularly sensitive indicator of access. This suggests that in addition to helping patients start treatment on time, we also have to work toward improving access so treatment doesn't drag on."

In their findings, the team noted that access to care, tumor status, and socioeconomic status affected treatment start times, but had an overall bigger impact on the length of care patients received. They also found that socioeconomic status was not as strongly associated with treatment delay as was race.

Sources: Cancer, Eureka Alert

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
JUN 09, 2021
Technology
Computer Program Generates Effective, Clinically-valid Treatment Plans for Cancer Patients
JUN 09, 2021
Computer Program Generates Effective, Clinically-valid Treatment Plans for Cancer Patients
In a recent study published in Nature Medicine, researchers at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre offer evidence for th ...
JUL 13, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Friend or Foe? New Cancer-Tracking Pen Guides Surgeons.
JUL 13, 2021
Friend or Foe? New Cancer-Tracking Pen Guides Surgeons.
Researchers have developed the first diagnostic “pen” that acts as a guide for surgeons, helping them distin ...
JUL 26, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
A Region of Non-Coding DNA That May Help Regulate Telomere Length is ID'ed
JUL 26, 2021
A Region of Non-Coding DNA That May Help Regulate Telomere Length is ID'ed
Many types of cells have to be replenished continuously throughout our lives, and the genome in the nucleus of those cel ...
AUG 12, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Computers Pick Up the 'Sound' of Thyroid Cancer
AUG 12, 2021
Computers Pick Up the 'Sound' of Thyroid Cancer
Researchers have developed a new technology for the non-invasive diagnosis of thyroid cancer that combines photoacoustic ...
SEP 06, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Antibiotics Increase Colon Cancer Risk by 17%
SEP 06, 2021
Antibiotics Increase Colon Cancer Risk by 17%
People who take antibiotics are at an increased risk of developing colon cancer within five to ten years. The research w ...
OCT 26, 2021
Immunology
Two Different Arms, Twice the Cancer-Killing Potential?
OCT 26, 2021
Two Different Arms, Twice the Cancer-Killing Potential?
Our immune system has developed an arsenal of sophisticated molecular weapons to defend us against the continuous barrag ...
Loading Comments...