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Study shows racial disparity in breast cancer death rates

Breast cancer deaths have decreased by 39 percent between 1989 and 2015, according to a report by the American Cancer Society. While this is good news, the report also noted some racial disparities. For example, African-American women are 39 percent less likely to survive breast cancer than white women. It is a problem that affects Montana residents; although, the highest death rates among black women are in South Central states, Mid-Atlantic states, and California.

One factor in the disparity is socioeconomic status. Many black women are unable to get preventive screening and counseling, and they have limited access to drugs like Tamoxifen, which can help in the treatment and prevention of breast cancer. Some may even be prevented by their work to undergo radiation therapy.

Another possible factor is racial discrimination at health care facilities. Some states also have laws that tend to discourage those without insurance from getting regular checkups. However, there is also some scientific basis for the discrepancy. African-American women tend to have higher rates of triple negative breast cancer, which is more difficult to treat than HR+/HER2- breast cancer. Obesity and other diseases can contribute as well. For a comparison, the report shows that Native American, Hispanic and Asian women have the lowest death rates.

If the family of a breast cancer victim believes that a doctor failed to properly diagnose the condition, then they may consider filing a wrongful death suit. A lawyer may need to determine several things, including evidence of a prior doctor-patient relationship and evidence of a breach of the standard of care. The attorney could then request an inquiry with the medical board and prepare to negotiate a settlement.

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Towe & Fitzpatrick, PLLC
619 SW Higgins, Ste. O
P.O. Box 1745
Missoula, MT 59806

Phone: 406-203-5148
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