News, Stories, Guidelines, Opinions, History

Lack of health insurance a big reason for higher breast cancer death rates in Black women

Oluchi Oke, M.D.

"Lack of health insurance is a barrier"

“Lack of health insurance is a barrier in receiving timely screening to detect breast cancer early on and is a big reason that we see higher breast cancer death rates in Black women,” says Oluchi Oke, MD, an oncologist at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

“The most well-known study looked at five factors that may impact the difference in outcome between Black versus Caucasian women with stage 1-3 breast cancer, including demographics, characteristics of cancer, comorbidities, health insurance, and type of treatment.”

“The difference in health insurance was the biggest contributor to the difference in death rate for each group. Almost three times as many Black women were uninsured compared to white women, and 35% of the excess risk of death from breast cancer in Black women compared with white women was due to a difference in health insurance. The type of tumor also contributed to the increased risk of death, but not as significantly as the lack of insurance contributed.”

See “An Expert Explains How Racial Disparities in Breast Cancer Care Contribute to Poor Outcomes for Black Women And how to close the health care gap” by Nina Bahadur on the Self magazine website (October 25, 2021)

Scroll to Top