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KNAU and Arizona News

Study shows disparities in breast cancer treatments for Indigenous women

breast Cancer Scan
University of Arizona Health Sciences
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A scan shows a breast cancer reoccurrence following a mastectomy.

A study led by University of Arizona Health Sciences shows disparities in breast cancer treatments for Indigenous women.

The paper was recently published in Annals of Surgical Oncology and found American Indian and Alaska Native women with early-stage cancer were more likely (41% versus 34.4%) to receive a mastectomy compared to white women, and less likely to receive a lumpectomy than white women (59% versus 65.6%).

Whites more often received a lumpectomy, which can result in fewer complications, decreased pain, better recovery and quality of life. The researchers say reliable transportation, childcare, time off work and other factors could discourage rural Indigenous women from seeking more effective treatments.

The study was conducted by three Native scholars including Hopi tribal member Dr. Felina Cordova-Marks.

According to UArizona Health Sciences, Indigenous women have the worst breast cancer survival outcome of any racial or ethnic group in the U.S.