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Report shows racial disparity in breast cancer survival rate

A report from the American Cancer Society revealed that breast cancer deaths fell 39 percent between 1989 and 2015 thanks to advances in medicine and early detection methods. At the same time, the organization expressed concern over another trend affecting Oklahoma and the rest of the country: an increase in the proportion of African-American women who die from breast cancer compared to women of other races. According to reports from 2015, black women have a 39 percent less chance of surviving than white women do.

Several factors have been suggested. Though education is no longer an issue and black women are actually more likely to get mammograms than white women, poverty prevents many from obtaining proper health care. Black women have limited access to preventive care and to drugs like Tamoxifen. Discrimination at health care facilities may be another factor.

Geographically, black women in the South-Central states, Mid-Atlantic states and California had the highest death rates. This may be due to laws within individual states that discourage women without insurance from getting regular checkups.

Native American, Hispanic and Asian women have the lowest death rates, reflecting a difference in the types of diseases that each race is susceptible to. Black women tend to get triple-negative breast cancer, which is extremely hard to treat.

If someone dies from breast cancer and the family members believe that the condition was never diagnosed properly, this may be a case of medical malpractice. A lawyer may be able to review the claim to see if there was an existing doctor-patient relationship and determine whether the medical care the victim received was below a set standard. The lawyer might then file a request for an inquiry with the state medical board and negotiate for a settlement.