Black Women with Breast Cancer 40% More Likely to Die of the Disease than White Women Says New Study

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CAI's Avon Breast Health Outreach Program (BHOP) Navigates Low-Income
Women of Color into Breast Screenings to Decrease Disparity

(New York, NY) A national study published by Sinai Urban Health Institute and the Avon Foundation for Women, and presented at the Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Forum in Washington, D.C. this week, has found that, on average, the racial gap in breast cancer mortality is growing significantly wider.
The large-scale study, which is the first to examine racial disparities in breast cancer mortality in 50 cities over two decades, found that 1,710 black women — approximately five women per day — die annually on average largely due to racial disparities in screening and breast cancer treatment.
The cities found to have the largest racial disparities are Memphis, Los Angeles, Wichita, Houston, Boston, Denver, Chicago, Phoenix, Dallas and Indianapolis.
While the study found a notable decline in the white death rate between 1990 and 2009, the black mortality rate remained virtually the same, resulting in a widening disparity gap. Researchers believe four factors led to this racial disparity in breast cancer mortality for black women: less access to screening, lower screening quality, less access to treatment and poorer quality of treatment. While black women with breast cancer were found, on average, to be 40 percent more likely to die than white female breast cancer patients, some cities have even wider disparity rates. For example, a black woman with breast cancer in Los Angeles is nearly 70 percent more likely to die from the disease than a white woman.

"The results of this new study are deeply concerning and indicate that far more efforts like Avon BHOP are needed to help close the disparity gap between white and black breast cancer patients," said CAI's Avon BHOP Project Director Kathryn Gates-Ferris. "Just last year, over 16,000 black women were screened for breast cancer through BHOP-funded programs, and those with breast cancer were navigated into high-quality treatment."

Since 2000, CAI has managed Avon BHOP and helped link medically underserved women to breast health education and high-quality screening services. Low-income, under-insured and other marginalized populations often need targeted, customized approaches to help them obtain regular mammograms and clinical breast exams.

In 2013, Avon BHOP funded 101 community outreach and breast cancer screening programs nationwide, which target underserved populations with a low-rate of mammography and breast examinations.

Through 2013, Avon BHOP grantees had facilitated more than 1.2 million mammograms and breast examinations for low-income women and educated over 11 million people on breast cancer awareness. Avon BHOP is funded by the Avon Foundation for Women.
To learn more about CAI's Avon BHOP project, click here.