Different factors influence delay between diagnosis and first course of treatment for breast cancer for African-American and White women.
The study used data from the Carolina Breast Cancer Study (CBCS) Phase III, a program of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Scientists found that among White women, household size and losing a job due to one's diagnosis were reasons for delay in treatment, while among African-American women, the type of treatment received influenced delay. Both African-American and White women experienced delay if they underwent immediate breast reconstruction following mastectomy. African-American women were more likely than White women to experience delay associated with this procedure (92.5 percent versus 60.6 percent).
The study was published in the July 3, 2013 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
The researchers categorized women into two groups: those who received treatment within 30 days of diagnosis, and those whose treatment was delayed by more than 30 days.
"Our goal was to identify the factors that contribute to treatment delay and to assess whether disparities in delay exist between African-American and White women," said Sasha McGee, PhD, an epidemiology graduate student at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health at the time of this study.
The study found that African-American women between the ages of 20 and 49 were more than three times as likely as White women in this age range to experience treatment delay.
"The study results suggest that specific populations of women need to be targeted when characterizing and addressing determinants of treatment delay, and that younger African-American women may benefit from interventions to reduce disparities in treatment delay," said McGee.