In the Inland Empire locale of Southern California, failure to detect breast cancer in its early, more treatable stages is common among black women, and researchers have discovered that the cause may be a combination of incidence and mortality patterns, poverty, and a lack of medical insurance and education.
"Poverty and health care are intertwined, although large geographical areas such as San Bernardino County have the resources to effectively serve minority women," said Padma P.Tadi-Uppala, Ph.D., an associate professor in the department of environmental and occupational health at Loma Linda University, School of Public Health.
"The government and public health institutions should actively engage in identifying areas of need to serve minority women, reduce the breast cancer burden and ensure quality care regardless of race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status," she said.
While breast cancer mortality has declined by 31 percent overall in California, data for 2003 through 2007 indicated that mortality rates are significantly higher in women from the Inland Empire compared to the overall average in California.
About 2 million women live in the Inland Empire, an area that spans more than 27,000 square miles, according to the researchers. With funding from Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Inland Empire Affiliate, Tadi-Uppala and colleagues identified factors that may contribute to the unequal burden of breast cancer in the Inland Empire.
The mortality rate for breast cancer was 34.3 deaths per 100,000 non-Hispanic black women compared to 27 deaths per 100,000 non-Hispanic white women. Combining data for all race/ethnicity groups, the average annual age-adjusted mortality rate for breast cancer was 25.4 deaths in the Inland Empire compared to 22.8 deaths per 100,000 women statewide.
"Although this difference is slight, the higher risk of death
|Contact: Jeremy Moore|
American Association for Cancer Research