Researchers who sought to determine why breast cancers are more deadly in young women found that only a minority of young women experience long delays between the time they detect a breast abnormality and the time they receive a diagnosis, but delays in seeking care are more common in women with fewer financial resources.
A team led by Kathryn J. Ruddy, MD, MPH, and Dr. Ann H. Partridge, MD, MPH, surveyed 585 women recently diagnosed with breast cancer at or under the age of 40 years. This work was conducted at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA, where Dr. Partridge works. Dr. Ruddy is currently working at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. The investigators found that 80 percent of the women detected their own breast abnormalities. Among women with self-detected breast cancers, 17 percent experienced a delay of at least 90 days before they visited a health care provider for an evaluation, and 12 percent reported a delay of at least 90 days between that visit and their diagnosis. Women with poorer financial status were more likely to experience a delay between detecting an abnormality and visiting a health care provider.
“Because we discovered that women who are less financially comfortable are more likely to delay seeking medical attention for breast abnormalities that later are diagnosed as breast cancer, it appears that economic disparity may be an important consideration in future development of interventions to reduce delays,” said Dr. Ruddy. “The findings may lead to research focusing on whether reducing copays and ‘hidden’ costs of seeking medical care—such as parking charges, child-care expenses, and lost wages—may improve the timeliness of diagnosis in this population.”
The authors also noted a non-significant trend toward more advanced disease in women who experienced a delay between seeing a health care provider and receiving a diagnosis. But because substantial delays only impacted a minority of women who detected their own breast abnormalities, they concluded that factors besides delays—such as tumor biology—are likely more influential on breast cancer outcomes in most cases.
The findings are published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.
**Share the Magazine with your executive colleagues and friends!
Follow the Magazine:
(After you have filled in your email address in the column at the right hand side of the screen, a confirmation email will sent to your email address. You will have to confirm it before subscription begins)
Follow us on Twitter:
Like us on Facebook:
**As part of the Magazine’s drive to reward subscribers/followers, we will be providing subscribers/followers special access to exclusive content which will not be otherwise available to normal visitors. Please be sure to subscribe to the Magazine. Many visitors have given us positive comments that they will be bookmarking the site, but as the system is unable to capture a working email address to which the passcodes for exclusive content will be sent, they will miss out on this content. Do note that passcodes are locked to each exclusive content, not a one-for-all access, so do provide a working email address that you check regularly so as not to miss out on them!