Gaps in breast cancer mortality still remain

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Troubling new results regarding the breast health of African-American women.

The 2014 Racial Disparity in Breast Cancer Mortality Study finds that while more white women are diagnosed with breast cancer, black women are more likely to die from the disease.

Researchers with the Sinai Urban Health Institute analyzed data from 50 of the country's largest cities, including the District of Columbia, from 1990-2009.

They found that nearly 1,800 black women die needlessly every year because of the disparity that exists in terms of access to early screening, treatment, and the quality of care.

Dr. Bridget Oppong, Medical Director of the Capital Breast Care Center in Southeast DC is not surprised. Dr. Oppong says, "You know it really kinda confirms what we already know."

The Capital Breast Care Center offers breast cancer screening services plus health and wellness education to all women in the metro area, regardless of their ability to pay.

Dr. Oppong believes the racial disparity gap can be closed.

"If you address geographic limitations, meaning everyone has access to a hospital then disparities decline. It is not a fixed thing that will always remain certain. We can reduce the disparities we just need to look at all the factors. We can't just focus on screening or treatment, we have to do everything at the same time."

The study was funded by the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. Here is a link to the entire report:

The 12th Annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington, D.C. will take place May 3-4. The walk raised over 65.2 million to provide better access to care for residents of the District, Maryland, and Virginia.


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