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Two-Thirds of Hispanic Women Discover Breast Cancer Themselves
Date:2/5/2009

But half wait at least a month before seeking help, research shows

THURSDAY, Feb. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Most breast cancers in Hispanic women are detected by self-exam, despite high rates of screening mammography in this population, a new study shows.

What's troubling, however, is that about half of all women who noticed an abnormality during a self-exam waited at least a month before seeking medical help, according to new research being presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities, in Carefree, Ariz.

Two-thirds of breast cancers in Hispanic women are detected by a self-exam, while only 23 percent come to light through a mammography and another 6 percent through a clinical exam. Yet screening mammography rates were 83 percent among U.S.-born Hispanic women and 62 percent among non-U.S.-born Hispanic women, said researchers from The University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.

Why did women wait so long before seeking help? Largely because of lack of health insurance or other ways to afford medical care, study author Rachel Zenuk said during a Wednesday teleconference on the findings.

The study is one of several being presented at the conference that look at breast cancer issues among Hispanic women.

According to Elena Martinez, a professor of epidemiology at The University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and co-leader of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at the Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson, "the problem [of breast cancer] is very poorly understood in this population, and it's an issue that affects the U.S. because of the large and growing population of Hispanics in this country."

Two of these studies, including the one noted above, rely on data from the ELLA Binational Breast Cancer Study which, so far, has recruited 652 women, about half Mexican-American
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