Disparities in Breast Cancer Screening, Treatment, and Outcomes: A Crisis in Need of Action


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Presentation: 45:54


Disparities research is an essential component of optimizing population health to benefit all patients. It is important to understand that many socioeconomic disparities that persist in the U.S. have a history that is rooted in systematic bias that still continues to impact society and its health. This project presents breast cancer as a paradigm for disparities research with societal impact. Breast cancer is the costliest cancer to treat in the U.S. and is the most common solid tumor cancer among women. There are substantial disparities in breast cancer stage at diagnosis and survival along racial lines, with black women having greater likelihood of later stage presentation and lower survival. These disparities can be positively impacted by breast cancer screening. However, the disparities in screening may be further exacerbated by the potential ramifications of recommendations that would delay and decrease the frequency of breast cancer screening in an effort to decrease costs associated with negative screenings and additional tests. These screening recommendations disparately impact younger women, which further disparately impacts black women, who have a higher frequency of breast cancer at younger ages and increased mortality at every age. Treatment disparities have been demonstrated as well, which can significantly impact the quality of the treatment process. This is particularly relevant to breast conserving treatment for early stage breast cancer, which is a treatment process that involves multiple treatments. Additionally, disparities in receipt of the more timely and efficient breast conserving treatments can be traced to both patient and provider level factors. It is essential for population health experts to be cognizant of disparities and to actively seek to identify and address disparities in order to ensure the opportunity for the highest quality of healthcare for all patients.



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