Breast cancer screening and ethnicity in the United States: implications for health disparities research
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- Miranda, P.Y., Tarraf, W. & González, H.M. Breast Cancer Res Treat (2011) 128: 535. doi:10.1007/s10549-011-1367-8
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Ethnic and racial minority women within the U.S. are less likely to use breast cancer screening (BCS) procedures than non-Latina White women, and are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer at later stages of disease. Previous studies examining Latina rates of screening and disease have used aggregated populations for comparison, possibly attenuating important ethnic healthcare disparities and yielding misleading findings. The purpose of this study was to examine if ethnicity matters in understanding current estimates of BCS patterns among U.S. women; to test if healthcare disparities in BCS are present, and if any ethnic/racial groups are primarily affected. The authors used multivariate multinomial regression to examine self-reported mammogram and clinical breast exam in the 2007 full-year U.S. Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Mexican origin women reported the lowest rates of past-year mammograms and clinical breast examination. Factors enabling healthcare moderated the group’s lower likelihood of mammograms and clinical breast examination. Some breast cancer screening parity appears to have been achieved in 2007 for Black and some Latina groups; however, those rates lag behind for the largest Latino ethnic group, Mexican. Factors enabling healthcare access, such as education, income and insurance, attenuated the BCS inequalities found for Mexican origin women. Findings suggest that successful efforts to reduce BCS disparities be strategically redirected to include women of Mexican origin in addition to other underserved populations.