Women in Appalachia have higher rates of late stage breast cancer

September 26, 2013 by Glenda Fauntleroy
Women in Appalachia have higher rates of late stage breast cancer

Older women living in the poorest areas of Appalachia in the U.S. fail to get regular breast cancer screening and have a higher incidence of later stage breast cancer, reports a new study in Health Services Research.

About 25 million people live in the 13 states that make up the Appalachian region, a 205,000-square-mile region that follows the spine of the Appalachian Mountains from southern New York to northern Mississippi. The National Cancer Institute has recently publicized Appalachia's higher rates of cancer and poorer outcomes for residents diagnosed with cancer.

To examine regional disparities in and diagnosis, researchers evaluated Central Cancer Registry and Medicare claims data from three Appalachian states (Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylvania) to measure the incidence of later stage in the region's poorest counties compared with its more affluent counties. The counties' economic statuses were compared based on factors such as unemployment rates, average home values and average monthly wages.

Women living in the most economically deprived counties—located in eastern Kentucky and southeastern Ohio—had 3.31 times as many late-stage tumors compared to those in the least deprived counties. Appalachian women in the study over age 65 had a 17.3 percent incidence of later stage breast cancer compared to a national average of 16 percent for women of the same age.

The degree of disparity between the counties was stronger than the researchers had suspected, said lead author Roger T. Anderson, Ph.D., from the department of public health science at Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine.

"Overall, we found counties that are struggling economically tend to have inadequate or infrastructure and have the highest rates of later-stage breast cancer," said Anderson.

There were also disparities in how often women received recommended . Although area women over the age of 65 had Medicare insurance coverage, only 53 percent had mammography screening within the 2 years before their cancer diagnosis compared with the national average of 67 percent.

Anderson explained that counties that struggle economically may set up a "perpetuating cycle of few services to promote cancer prevention and early detection in communities and less overall use of preventive services."

Clement Gwede, Ph.D., associate director of diversity at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, agreed, saying that solutions to the disparities in late stage breast cancer in the nation's more distressed communities must include improved access to mammography screening resources, education and awareness, and related resources.

"Without these broad and sustained strategies, the vicious cycle will persist," Gwede added.

Explore further: Individualized breast cancer screening catches more cancer

More information: Anderson, R. et al. Breast cancer screening, area deprivation, and later stage breast cancer in Appalachia: does geography matter, Health Services Research, 2013. onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journa … 111/(ISSN)1475-6773/

Related Stories

Individualized breast cancer screening catches more cancer

August 12, 2013
(HealthDay)—A breast cancer screening program tailored to participants' individual risk profiles has a higher-than-expected breast cancer detection rate in 40- to 49-year old women, according to a pilot study published ...

Study uncovers value of mammogram screening for younger women

September 9, 2013
A new analysis has found that most deaths from breast cancer occur in younger women who do not receive regular mammograms. Published early online in Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study ...

Neighborhood poverty and health insurance figure in late-stage diagnosis of breast cancer

March 5, 2013
Home may be where the heart is, but where you live could affect your health.

Rural women more likely to be diagnosed with most serious form of breast cancer

October 24, 2011
Women living in rural areas face unique challenges concerning health and wellness issues. Now, an MU researcher has found that rural women are more likely than women living in cities to be diagnosed with late-stage breast ...

Mortality higher in Appalachian coal mining counties compared to non-coal mining areas

March 18, 2013
West Virginia counties with coal mining activity have higher total mortality rates than their non-coal mining Appalachian counterparts, a University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health analysis revealed.

Study applies timely cost-effectiveness analysis to state breast cancer screening program

September 16, 2013
When public health budgets are constrained, mammography screening should begin later and occur less frequently, a cost-effectiveness analysis for California's Every Woman Counts (EWC) program concludes.

Recommended for you

Could a green sponge hold cancer-fighting secrets?

July 27, 2017
A small green sponge discovered in dark, icy waters of the Pacific off Alaska could be the first effective weapon against pancreatic cancer, researchers said on Wednesday.

Stem cell therapy attacks cancer by targeting unique tissue stiffness

July 26, 2017
A stem cell-based method created by University of California, Irvine scientists can selectively target and kill cancerous tissue while preventing some of the toxic side effects of chemotherapy by treating the disease in a ...

Study uncovers potential 'silver bullet' for preventing and treating colon cancer

July 26, 2017
In preclinical experiments, researchers at VCU Massey Cancer Center have uncovered a new way in which colon cancer develops, as well as a potential "silver bullet" for preventing and treating it. The findings may extend to ...

Compound shows promise in treating melanoma

July 26, 2017
While past attempts to treat melanoma failed to meet expectations, an international team of researchers are hopeful that a compound they tested on both mice and on human cells in a petri dish takes a positive step toward ...

Understanding cell segregation mechanisms that help prevent cancer spread

July 26, 2017
Scientists have uncovered how cells are kept in the right place as the body develops, which may shed light on what causes invasive cancer cells to migrate.

Study may explain failure of retinoic acid trials against breast cancer

July 25, 2017
Estrogen-positive breast cancers are often treated with anti-estrogen therapies. But about half of these cancers contain a subpopulation of cells marked by the protein cytokeratin 5 (CK5), which resists treatment—and breast ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.