Black women have lower odds of receiving guideline-recommended therapies

-- Lindsey Marcellin

Monday, October 11, 2010 (Last Updated: 10/12/2010)

MONDAY, Oct. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Racial and ethnic differences in adherence to guideline-recommended breast cancer diagnostics and care remain even after adjustment for insurance coverage and socioeconomic status (SES), according to research published Oct. 11 in Cancer.

Rachel A. Freedman, M.D., M.P.H., of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and colleagues conducted a study of differences in care among a national cohort of breast cancer patients to assess whether insurance and SES were associated with racial/ethnic differences in breast cancer diagnostic procedures and treatments. The study included more than 600,000 white, black, and Hispanic women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer during 1998-2005 at National Cancer Data Base hospitals.

After adjustment, black women were less likely than white women to have had definitive locoregional therapy (odds ratio, 0.91), hormonal therapy (OR, 0.90), and chemotherapy (OR, 0.87). Compared with white women, Hispanic women were also less likely to receive hormonal therapy. There were no significant racial/ethnic differences in hormone receptor testing. After adjustment for insurance and SES, racial disparities still existed.

"The modest attenuation of disparities we observed, after accounting for differences in insurance status, suggests that simply providing access to insurance is unlikely to have a major impact on breast cancer disparities by race/ethnicity," write the authors. "A better understanding of the factors other than insurance and SES that contribute to racial disparities is essential."

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Specialties Hematology & Oncology

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