New Jersey breast cancer patients may be interested to learn that although advances in medication and treatment have lowered the death rates of breast cancer in women, black women are still more likely to die from the disease than white women. In fact, a 2015 study showed that white women were 39 percent more likely to survive breast cancer than black women.
There are several reasons behind the disparity in survival rates between white women and black women. One reason is the type of breast cancer women of different ethnic groups are more likely to develop. For example, black women have higher rates of triple negative breast cancer while white women tend to have higher rates of HR+/HER2- breast cancers. Triple negative breast cancer is generally more difficult to treat, meaning that those who develop this type of breast cancer have a poorer prognosis.
Economic factors also play into survival rates. For example, black women are less likely to have access to early detection strategies, including screenings. This could that the breast cancer is diagnosed once it has reached a more aggressive stage. Transportation to treatment centers and the inability to take time off work for treatment may also be factors. Further, black women are less likely to have access to breast cancer medications, like Tamoxifen.
Obtaining an early breast cancer diagnosis is critical. A delayed diagnosis or a misdiagnosis could result in the need for more aggressive treatment, especially if the cancer has already spread. If the delayed diagnosis was caused by a doctor error or hospital negligence, an attorney could help the patient file a medical malpractice lawsuit for the harm he or she suffered. In some cases, the patient could seek compensation for medical costs and punitive damages, especially if the standards of care were not followed.