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Keywords:

  • race;
  • ethnicity;
  • breast cancer;
  • segregation

Abstract

BACKGROUND.

Questions have existed as to whether residential segregation is a mediator of racial/ethnic disparities in breast cancer care and breast cancer mortality, or has a differential effect by race/ethnicity.

METHODS.

Data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results–Medicare database on white, black, and Hispanic women aged 66 to 85 years with breast cancer were examined for the receipt of adequate breast cancer care.

RESULTS.

Blacks were less likely than whites to receive adequate breast cancer care (odds ratio [OR], 0.78; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.71-0.86). Individuals, both black and white, who lived in areas with greater black segregation were less likely to receive adequate breast cancer care (OR, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.64-0.82). Black segregation was a mediator of the black/white disparity in breast cancer care, explaining 8.9% of the difference. After adjustment, adequate care for Hispanics did not significantly differ from whites, but individuals, both Hispanic and white, who lived in areas with greater Hispanic segregation were less likely to receive adequate breast cancer care (OR, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.61-0.89). Although Blacks experienced greater breast cancer mortality than whites, black segregation did not substantially mediate the black-white disparity in survival, and was not significantly associated with mortality (hazards ratio, 1.03; 95% CI, 0.87-1.21). Breast cancer mortality did not differ between Hispanics and whites.

CONCLUSIONS.

Among seniors, segregation mediates some of the black-white disparity in breast cancer care, but not mortality. Individuals who live in more segregated areas are less likely to receive adequate breast cancer care. Cancer 2008. © 2008 American Cancer Society.