HEALTH

Study: Latinas worst on follow up breast care

Even with health insurance, Hispanic women wait almost month to follow up on exams that show breast abnormalities, according to an explosive new study.

Hispanic women ranked the worst in lag time to follow up on an irregular breast exam, according the study published by scientists at the George Washington Cancer Institute and George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. Hispanic women with private health insurance waited about four times longer than white women and almost twice as longer than black women to get a definitive diagnosis following an abnormal screening, the study shows.

The study examined 983 women tested for breast cancer between 1998 to 2009 at six hospitals and clinics in Washington, D.C. It reveals Hispanic woman with private health insurance wait an average of 51 days to follow up on an abnormal screening – but the number jumped to 67 days if they have no health insurance.

White women with private health insurance wait an average of 16 days, and black women wait 27 days, the study shows. Without health insurance, white women 45 days for a follow up, and black women wait about 60 days.

"Non-Hispanic black and Hispanic women should be the focus of breast cancer screening outreach and follow-up since they experience greater delays in diagnosis than non-Hispanic white women, regardless of type of insurance," said Heather Hoffman, assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services and one of the authors of the study. "In particular, we need to investigate the barriers to rapid workup in insured non-Hispanic black and Hispanic women first and then investigate barriers in all uninsured women."