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Black, Asian, Hispanic women wait longer than White women for biopsy after abnormal mammogram

Black and Asian women are more likely than White women to experience significant delays in getting breast biopsies after their mammogram identifies an abnormality, according to a new review of more than 45,000 women’s cases.

At 90 days from their mammograms, the risk of not undergoing a biopsy compared with White women was 28 percent higher for Black women, 21 percent higher for Asian women and 12 percent higher for Hispanic women.

Previous studies indicated that the benefit of screening diminishes with time, and that these long lags are associated with later-stage disease at the time of diagnosis and a shorter life expectancy, said Marissa Lawson, MD (above), who co-led the study at the University of Washington.

“Even after adjusting for multiple factors thought to contribute to delayed diagnosis, we still see persistent disparities among minority women, particularly Black women. To me, this suggests that other underlying factors are contributing to these differences in time to biopsy,” she noted. “The findings indicate that there are some differences among the screening facilities associated with the time to biopsy. We just don’t know what the specific differences are.”

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