Searching beyond the Lamppost to Reduce Breast Cancer Disparities

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jan 29;18(3):1186. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18031186.


Racial and ethnic differences in breast cancer occur by race/ethnicity in both incidence and mortality rates. Women of lower socioeconomic status likewise have poorer outcomes. When race alone is considered, incidence rates in the United States are highest among White women (130.8 per 100,000), with Black women close behind (126.7 per 100,000). Incidence is lowest among Asian/Pacific Islander women, at 93.2 per 100,000. Mortality differences are more pronounced, with Black women 40% more likely to die from breast cancer than White women (28.4 per 100,000 and 20.3 per 100,000, respectively). Mortality rates for Asian/Pacific Islander women (11.5 per 100,000) are far lower than for Black and White women. When age is considered, additional differences between Black and White women appear, in part accounted for by types of breast cancer experienced. Women of other racial/ethnic groups and socioeconomic status have received less scientific attention. In this article, we provide a brief overview of the evidence for social determinants of breast cancer and argue that the current reliance on race over racism and ethnicity contributes to our inability to eliminate breast cancer disparities in the United States and elsewhere in the world. We suggest alternatives to the current approach to research in breast cancer disparities.

PMID:33572721 | PMC:PMC7908502 | DOI:10.3390/ijerph18031186