Race/ethnicity linked to diagnosis delay

Oct. 6, 2010 at 8:40 PM

MIAMI, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers say they have linked race and/or ethnicity -- rather than insurance status -- to delays in breast cancer diagnosis in minority women.

Researchers at George Washington University in Washington say they were surprised to find among women with health insurance, African-American and Hispanic women experienced greater delays in diagnosing breast cancer than Caucasian women.

The number of days from abnormal screening to definitive diagnosis for those with private insurance was 15.9 days for white women, 27.1 days for black women and 51.4 days for Hispanic women. For women with government insurance, delay times were 11.9 days for white, 39.4 days for black and 70.8 days for Hispanics. Among women without insurance, times were 44.5 days for white, 59.7 days for black women and 66.5 days for Hispanic women.

"We thought having health insurance would even the field among all women," researcher Heather Hoffman said in a statement. "Insured women should have had the same rapid evaluation regardless of race and ethnicity."

Hoffman and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study of 983 women examined for breast cancer between 1998 to 2009 at six hospitals and clinics in Washington.

Findings of the study were presented at the Association for Cancer Research Conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Miami.

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