Rosalie Young, Dr. Kendra Schwartz and Jason Booza of Wayne State University's School of Medicine examined clinical, structural and personal barriers known to prevent low-income African-American women from having mammograms.
The researchers randomly surveyed 178 African-American women age 40 or older from a high cancer-risk area of Detroit from 2004 to 2007. Data from 2007 showed a rate of approximately 35 deaths per 100,000 among African-American women in Detroit vs. about 26 deaths per 100,000 for white women.
The higher mortality rates for African-American women may result from barriers to getting mammograms, include fewer board-certified physicians working in lower-income areas, providers who work in the area being less informed about preventive care, women being less likely to adhere to cancer screening recommendations, and time constraints that may limit patient education efforts, the researchers said.
Young said clinicians are capable of removing these clinical and personal barriers by being more proactive in communicating with patients and offering more culturally appropriate health education that includes general information about disease risk and the importance of breast cancer screening.
The findings are published in the Journal of Cancer Education.