Black and Hispanic women are less likely than white women to be screened for breast cancer, a large review finds.
Screening rates for Asian/Pacific Islander and white women were similar, the research showed.
The analysis of 39 studies including 6 million women was published Dec. 16 in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.
“Not only do black and Hispanic women get screened less than white women, but disparities also persist in two age groups: women who are 40 to 65 years old, and 65 and older,” study author Dr. Ahmed Ahmed said in a journal news release.
“These findings are important; it’s evident that more work needs to be done to ensure that all eligible women have access to this preventive screening tool,” added Ahmed. He’s a postdoctoral fellow researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
A great deal of effort has gone into finding racially and culturally specific ways to reduce breast cancer screening disparities, with varying degrees of success, according to the researchers. They said more studies are needed to understand the causes of the disparities, trends over time, and the effectiveness of efforts to reduce disparities.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women in the United States. Each year, nearly one quarter of a million women are diagnosed and there are more than 40,000 breast cancer deaths, the American Cancer Society says.
Early detection of breast cancer significantly improves the chances of survival, the researchers said.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more on breast cancer screening.