Six drivers of breast cancer disparities
The Susan G. Komen Foundation conducted focus groups in 10 major metropolitan areas to understand the many barriers Black women face in preventing, treating and surviving breast cancer. The research identified several trends that exist to varying degrees in each metropolitan area.
Black women often feel ignored or met with disapproval by heath care providers and others in the health care system. Some experience harsh, uncompassionate and unnecessarily painful treatment.
Health care providers often do not grasp the barriers some Black women face, including lack of access to healthy foods and economic insecurity.
The quality of health care is segregated. High-quality institutions are located in predominately white neighborhoods, while Black communities are often supported by community clinics that often do not meet quality standards of care.
Many health care facilities that provide quality care do not accept Medicaid, Medicare or other lower-cost health exchange plans. Black women on these plans often feel discriminated against even when the hospital accepts the insurance.
Many cannot afford to travel to high-quality care locations or are concerned about losing their job if they take time off for appointments.
Barriers plague access to genetic counseling and testing services in the Black community, which are valuable for those with a family health history of cancers.