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Study Finds Disparities in Breast Cancer Treatment Even Among Fully-Insured African-American and Caucasian Women
Date:6/1/2008

WellPoint's Health Outcomes Research Subsidiary HealthCore Presents Data on Contributing Factors and Steps that Could Be Taken to Improve Treatment of

Women with Breast Cancer and Reduce Disparities

INDIANAPOLIS, June 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- HealthCore today presented a study [Abstract No: 6593] comparing treatment patterns and adherence to established treatment guidelines for newly diagnosed breast cancer patients at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago. While previous research has shown a relationship between the African-American race and increased breast cancer mortality in the general population, HealthCore sought to understand why similarly increased rates exist even among African-American women with health insurance.

The study, funded by Amgen, analyzed administrative claims data and patient medical charts for more than 3,000 Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGA) members who were diagnosed with breast cancer between January 2000 and August 2005. HealthCore chose to evaluate disparities in care among the insured population to help health plans and physicians identify opportunities and strategies to improve outcomes for women with breast cancer.

"Our data indicates that while significant disparities in care still exist between African-American and Caucasian women, steps can be taken to reduce these differences among the fully insured population," said Louise Short, M.D, MSc, lead investigator for the study and Director of HealthCore's Integrated Research Network.

HealthCore researchers found the factors predicting worse outcomes for African-American vs. Caucasian women with newly diagnosed breast cancer in a fully insured population were consistent with those factors identified by the current medical literature for the general population. The contributing factors HealthCore identified included: diagnosis at a younger age (49.4 vs. 52.4 years; p<0.01) and lat
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SOURCE WellPoint, Inc.
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