Socioeconomic Factors and Access to Quality Care Affect Breast Cancer Survival

June 1, 1995

Race does not appear to be a major factor in breast cancer survival when information on stage of disease, income level, education, and access to care also are reviewed, a number of studies show.

Race does not appear to be a major factor in breast cancer survivalwhen information on stage of disease, income level, education,and access to care also are reviewed, a number of studies show.

African-American women are at least one and a half times morelikely to be diagnosed with later-stage disease, says Dr. LoriPierce, Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology at the Universityof Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor. "In addition, raceis frequently synonymous with poverty, and poverty is synonymouswith lower education level. This lower education, lower incomegroup has the least access to care," she says.

It's a vicious circle, says Dr. Pierce. "The best way tobreak through the circle is to make mammography screening, qualitytreatment, and treatment follow-up more available to African-Americanwomen," she says.

Quality treatment also is essential, she says. "I've hadAfrican-American women tell me they avoid screening for breastcancer because they are afraid they'll have cancer, and cancermeans they'll have to have their breast removed," she says.