Financial Burden of Breast Cancer More Difficult for Black Women

The costs associated with breast cancer treatment and follow-up care can be a financial strain for some people and their families, even with health insurance.

Besides the costs of treatments such as surgery or radiation, you may be facing extra expenses for transportation to and from a treatment center, child care while you’re having treatment, or special foods to make sure your nutritional needs are being met. If you’ve had to take time off from work and your income is lower, these daily living expenses can be challenging to cover.

Many studies have found that compared to white women, black women have worse outcomes after being diagnosed with breast cancer. While research suggests that this is due in part to the different biology of breast cancer in black women, researchers wondered if black women faced different or worse financial problems after being diagnosed with breast cancer and if these problems may contribute to the difference in outcomes.

An analysis of data from the Carolina Breast Cancer Study strongly suggests that black women diagnosed with breast cancer have more financial problems than white women diagnosed with breast cancer.

The research was published online on April 18, 2018 by the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Read the abstract of “Financial Impact of Breast Cancer in Black Versus White Women.”

“Financial hardship plays a role in delays, discontinuation, and omission of treatment, and thus may correlate with racial disparities in breast cancer death,” said Stephanie Wheeler, the study’s lead author and associate professor in the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina. “With cancer care costs rapidly increasing, culturally appropriate strategies are urgently needed to address this problem.”

Started in 1993, the Carolina Breast Cancer Study aims to improve the understanding of breast…

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