Breast cancer is the cancer of the breast tissue. The survival rate of breast cancer is better with early diagnosis. A new study by Women's College Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) 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 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. These findings confirm a strong link between ethnicity and breast cancer stage at diagnosis for Canadian women.
Scientist Ophira Ginsburg said, "Research has long suggested that minority groups are among the least likely to be screened for breast cancer, impacting their survival rates and outcomes. For many reasons, including ethnicity and cultural factors, women in these groups are not receiving the screening they need when they need it most. The findings suggest we 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 women 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 said, "Chinese-Canadian communities have been among the first ethno-cultural groups to be offered tailored health promotion information on breast cancer. 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."
The study has been published in Current Oncology.