Breast cancer in South Asian women often diagnosed at later stage

Breast cancer in South Asian women often diagnosed at later stageWashington, Apr 21 : A new study has revealed that South Asian women are likelier to be diagnosed with breast cancer at stages II to IV compared to the general population.

The study by Women's College Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) also found that Chinese women are more likely to be diagnosed at stage I versus stage II and were less likely to be diagnosed with a higher stage of cancer than the general population.

The findings confirm a strong link between ethnicity and breast cancer stage at diagnosis for Canadian women. An editorial by Aisha Lofters accompanies the paper and indicates that the study's findings illustrate a health inequality for South Asian women in Ontario that is potentially unnecessary and avoidable.

Scientist Ophira Ginsburg said that research has long suggested that minority groups are among the least likely to be screened for breast cancer, impacting their survival rates and outcomes and added that for many reasons, including ethno-cultural factors, women in these groups are not receiving the screening they need when they need it most.

Ginsburg added that the findings suggest they have to find better ways to educate and screen these groups so that they can live longer, healthier lives.

From an analysis of more than 41,000 patients diagnosed with breast cancer between 2005 and 2010, the researchers also found that fewer South Asian women had a history of breast cancer screening in the past three years, prior to diagnosis.

Ginsburg noted that Chinese-Canadian communities have been among the first ethno-cultural groups to be offered tailored health promotion information on breast cancer, adding that cultural factors, cancer fears and stigma may pose barriers for these women when seeking care for breast problems.

Underserved ethno-cultural minority populations, particularly South Asian women living in Ontario, could benefit from carefully developed health promotion and access programs, Ginsburg said.

The study is published in the journal Current Oncology. (ANI)