The report, released Monday, finds that despite continuing progress in reducing breast cancer deaths nationwide, survival rates are lower among women in poor areas. From 2003 to 2007, those women had a 7 percent higher risk of death from breast cancer than women living in affluent areas.
“In 1990, the screening rate in poor women was about half that in non-poor women,” Carol DeSantis, MPH, an epidemiologist in surveillance research with the American Cancer Society and one of the study’s authors, told HuffPost.
But not everyone agrees on the exact value of screening mammography, as reflected in differing screening guidelines. Some organizations, including the American Cancer Society, recommend women get a yearly mammogram starting at age 40, while the U.S. Preventative Task Force now recommends biennial screening for women aged 50 to 74. (DeSantis said it was “too early to tell” if the updated USPTF recommendations will have an impact on screening.)
“Not all segments of the population have benefited equally from medical advances,” the study’s authors write, citing advances in treatments such as adjuvant chemotheraphy and improved targeted therapies. Indeed, DeSantis explained that among women with regional stage cancer — cancer that involves the lymph nodes — the five-year survival rate is 87 percent for women in affluent areas. In poor areas, it is only 80 percent.
“It is a very complicated picture,” said Susan Brown, director of health education at Susan G. Komen for the Cure, who suggested that the rate disparity may also reflect the higher burden of complicating factors, including diabetes and obesity, among poor populations.
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Category: Health/ Food/ Diet
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