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Failure to provide timely diagnosis and properly treat cancer in African American women linked to much higher rate of mortality

Often because they receive a late diagnosis or because they are not properly treated, African American women with breast cancer are on average 40 percent more likely to die than their white counterparts according to a study that was published last week in the Journal Cancer Epidemiology.

The reason for this disparity was that black women were less likely to get a mammogram than their white counterparts and therefore were less likely to be treated on time. However the gap has closed and now the rate of mammography is similar for black and white women.

Today the reason for the higher rate of mortality among black women with breast cancer is related to what happens after the mammogram. According to the C.D.C., even when they have similar insurance coverage, 20 percent of black women with an abnormal mammogram wait more than 60 days for a diagnosis, compared with 12 percent of white women. And 31 percent of black women wait 30 days to begin treatment, compared with 18 percent of white women.

What can be done to change this situation? In an Op-Ed for the New York Times, DR. Harold F. Freeman, relates his experience as a cancer surgeon in a Harlem Hospital to provide an in-depth analysis of this situation and to look for solutions.

Failure to timely diagnose Breast Cancer may be Medical Malpractice. Visit our website to learn more about it.