Provista Blog > How Do Racial Disparities in Breast Cancer Impact Detection?
Since 1975 the five-year survival rate for breast cancer has increased significantly for both black and white women. Nonetheless, racial disparities in breast cancer remain. In the most recent period, the five-year relative survival rate was 81 percent for black women and 92 percent for white women. The racial disparity in survival reflects both later stage at diagnosis and poorer stage-specific survival in black women. A recent article by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called "Patterns and Trends in Age-Specific Black-White Differences in Breast Cancer Incidence and Mortality – United States, 1999–2014" speaks to the racial disparities in treatment and mortality.
Cause-specific survival, instead of relative survival is used to describe the cancer experience of racial and ethnic minorities because estimates of life expectancy are not available for most racial groups. Cause- specific survival is the probability of not dying of breast cancer within five years of diagnosis. Chinese and Japanese women (among Asians of known origin) have the highest breast cancer survival rates.
Intricate and interrelated factors contribute to the observed disparities in breast cancer incidence amid racial groups. According to 2010 U.S census data, over 25 percent of African Americans and Hispanics currently live in poverty, compared to 10 percent of non-Hispanic whites. Moreover, 20 percent of African Americans and 33 percent of Hispanics lack health insurance, while only 10 percent of white people are uninsured. According to the American Cancer Society, people living in poverty and those who lack health insurance are more likely to be diagnosed with advanced stage disease, more likely to receive substandard medical care and more likely to die from cancer. In addition to lack of health insurance, poverty and less education are also associated with lower breast cancer survival. Breast cancer patients who reside in lower-income areas have a lower five-year survival rate than those in higher-income areas at every stage of diagnosis.
With new technology and innovations, we will be able to close the racial gap in terms of breast cancer. By being able to detect breast cancer more accurately and earlier the chance of survival in all women, regardless of ethnicity is increased. Early detection also has the power to reduce costs of more intense treatments and reduce the anxiety of breast cancer on patients and their families. We must ensure all women have access to new technologies so that it is possible we catch catch and halt breast cancer as early as possible.
"For one, it's critically important for every woman to know the importance of screening. While family risk due to genetic abnormalities have captured a great deal of attention, the vast majority of breast cancer is diagnosed in women without a herediatary risk," says Dr. Elayne Arterbery in Uptown Magazine. Read the full article here.
At Provista Diagnostics, our mission is to develop world-class diagnostic tests for indications in breast and gynecologic cancers. As a leading diagnostics company, our aim is to create, produce and market innovative solutions for unmet clinical needs. Our products and services help to diagnose diseases and inform better clinical decisions, thus enhancing women’s health and quality of life. We do this in a responsible and ethical manner with a commitment to excellence in every aspect of our business.