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Study finds delay in follow-up among African-American women receiving abnormal breast finding
Date:10/26/2009

A new analysis has identified a significant delay in follow-up times among African-American women after the finding of a suspicious breast abnormality. Published in the December 15, 2009 issue of Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study indicates that African-American women may face obstacles to receiving appropriate breast cancerrelated care.

In the United States, and particularly South Carolina, African-American women suffer disproportionately higher mortality rates from breast cancer compared to white women. Studies have indicated that African-American women experience significantly longer time intervals from an abnormal mammogram to diagnostic testing or are less likely to comply with recommended diagnostic follow-up exams within six months of an abnormal mammogram.

To investigate further, Swann Arp Adams, MS, PhD, of the University of South Carolina in Columbia, and her colleagues studied medical data from participants of the Best Chance Network, a state-wide service program that provides free mammography screenings to economically disadvantaged and medically underserved women. The program is part of the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP). Dr. Adams and her team analyzed tumor characteristics and patients' adherence to recommended tests following abnormal mammograms.

While African-American women were just as likely as white women to complete diagnostic procedures after abnormal mammography findings, there was a significantly longer time between the first clinical exam and to complete a diagnostic follow-up (median time = 44 days for African Americans and 40 days for European Americans). When time was measured in the number of days between the mammogram and the date of final status, a significant effect of race was no longer evident. Because the clinical breast examination typically precedes the diagnostic mammogram, these findings suggest that the racial
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Contact: David Sampson
david.sampson@cancer.org
American Cancer Society
Source:Eurekalert

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