This demographic has less coverage than the average woman in the United States, threatening their health.
Results of a newly released study show that black woman have a greater chance of death due to their breast cancer risk as they are less likely to have adequate health insurance coverage. The report on the study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Before women were routinely screened and effectively treated for breast cancer, black and white women suffered the same risk.
Before the early 1980s, neither systems of diagnoses nor treatment for breast cancer risk were very effective. At that time, the risk of death as a result of breast cancer were about equal. However, as screening for the disease has considerably improved, there has been a drop in the overall rate of death by 39 percent. This reduction occurred from 1989 through 2015, says American Cancer Society data.
However, that figure is only an average. The situation is not the same for all American women. During that time when the overall average risk of death from breast cancer fell, a gap formed and widened between the danger to white woman and that experienced by black women. In 2015, there was a 42 percent higher risk of death for black women than for white women.
Research points to the lack of health insurance coverage among black women leading to increased breast cancer risk of death.
In 2013, a study showed that black women were more likely to die from more aggressive breast cancer tumors and associated diseases than white women who received the same diagnosis. At that time, the head of the study, Dr. Ahmedin Jemal looked more deeply into the cause of that gap, as it didn’t make sense that breast cancer should be more deadly among black women than white women when that had not been the case only 35 years earlier. There simply wasn’t enough time for the disease to change the way it affected certain individual patients.
Dr. Jemal and his co-authors came to the conclusion that health insurance coverage played the key role in this situation. They found that it wasn’t the disease that had changed. It was the access to screening and effective breast cancer risk treatment.