Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 35–44 | Cite as

Disparities across the breast cancer continuum



Objective: We performed a structured review of the literature to identify areas of greater and lesser knowledge of the nature of disparities across the breast cancer continuum from risk and prevention to treatment and mortality.

Methods: We searched OvidMedline and PubMed to identify published studies from January 1990 to March 2004 that address disparities in breast cancer. We read the abstracts of the identified articles and then reviewed the articles if they were in English, were limited to American populations, limited to women, and described quantitative outcomes. We designated the articles as addressing one or more disparities across one or more of the domains of the breast cancer continuum.

Results: Substantial research exists on racial disparities in breast cancer screening, diagnosis, treatment, and survival. Disparities in screening and treatment exist across other domains of disparities including age, insurance status, and socioeconomic position. Several gaps were identified including how factors interact.

Conclusion: A structured review of breast cancer disparities suggests that research in other domains of social inequality and levels of the cancer continuum may uncover further disparities. A multidisciplinary and multi-pronged approach is needed to translate the knowledge from existing research into interventions to reduce or eliminate disparities.


breast cancer health disparities socioeconomic status minorities 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MedicineBrigham and Women’s HospitalBostonUSA
  2. 2.Center of Excellence in Women’s HealthHarvard Medical School’sUSA
  3. 3.Channing LaboratoryUSA
  4. 4.Harvard Medical SchoolUSA
  5. 5.Office for Women, Family and Community Programs, BrighamWomen’s HospitalBostonUSA

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