Breast cancer coverage doesn't always equal treatment

By Compuquotes Team on November 17th, 2010

If you haven't noticed all of the pink ribbons, and "(insert product name here) for the Cure" advertising, well, I'm guessing you've been on Mars this month. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and between running, biking, baking, eating yogurt, shopping and everything else to support this cause, people are pouring support into a disease that will afflict more than 200,000 women and men this year alone.

According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the good news is that, due in part to increased screening, such as yearly mammograms, the number of deaths from the disease has gone down. Greater awareness and improved treatment are among the factors that have helped drive this number down, but not all women diagnosed with breast cancer may be receiving the treatment they need.

The treatment gap

A recent study by the journal Cancer, showed that black and Hispanic women are still less likely to receive the same treatments as white women after receiving a definitive diagnosis for breast cancer. While the race gap in the disease was previously known, what's new is that it stands true regardless of whether women have health insurance or not.

With recent healthcare regulations requiring that insurance cover preventive services like mammograms, it brings up the question of whether coverage always equals treatment. This study suggest that it does not.

How do we close the gap?

Researchers are not exactly clear why women of color are not being treated, and more studies are needed they say. Breast cancer is treatable, and with health insurance, often more affordably so, so why aren't some women getting the help they need?

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