Tag Archives: cancer in women

Delay in Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Increase in Mortality

In the United States, it is National Women’s Health Week. I am going to try to post about a different and key area of Women’s Health through this week.

Today, I am going to point you to the summary of some important results from a very interesting paper on breast cancer diagnosis delays. I only have the summary to offer as the paper itself sits behind a pay wall. Still, even the summary should give one pause and suggestions of key demographics to aim at, in trying to bring up the diagnosis.

Study Limitation

This study, like the one mentioned in yesterday’s blog is also an ecological study and therefore, does not have the strength and rigor of a prospective, clinical study. However, the study results are still very valuable and informative.

Summary of Key Findings (Quoted)

Delays in diagnosis could possibly affect survival as well. While it is possible to quote from the summary, the mdedge article that originally pointed me to the paper has a nice summary, and I am going to quote it here. The article itself is linked below:

  • Women who received Medicaid or were uninsured were more than twice as likely to be diagnosed at a later stage, vs those with commercial insurance.
  • Blacks were 18% more likely than whites to experience such.
  • Unmarried women were 25% more likely than their married counterparts to be diagnosed later.
  • Younger patients were 25% more likely than older individuals to experience delayed diagnosis.
  • Compared with commercially insured patients, death rates from breast cancer in Medicaid and uninsured women were 40% and ~60% higher, respectively.
  • This rate was nearly 40% higher in blacks vs whites, and nearly 20% higher in unmarried vs married women.

Conclusion

As you can see, social status, insurance, and even marital status as well as age make significant contributions to delay in diagnosis. Similar issues exist with survival and mortality. As the authors state in the study, it is important to explore these demographic and social status differences further. When separated by sex, Breast Cancer is the leading cause of cancer based mortality among women in the United States. Every effort must be made to ensure increased awareness, early diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer!

References: 

  1. Summary of the Study: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cncr.30722/full
  2. The mdedge article: http://www.mdedge.com/oncologypractice/clinical-edge/summary/practice-management/these-factors-impact-breast-cancer?group_type=2-month&topic=278&utm_source=News_Power_eNL-B_051417&utm_medium=email&utm_content=ClinicalEdge%20Top%2010:%20Editor%27s%20Picks%20for%20May
  3. Image Courtesy, Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-in-black-tank-top-holding-an-umbrella-in-front-of-yellow-concrete-wall-57851/

Interesting MIT Research on Ovarian Cancer Detection

The teal ribbon, pictured above, is used to represent the Fight Against Ovarian Cancer

I am back to my favorite Qmed today. They led me to a neat article on MIT News.

Ovarian cancer, while rare, still affects a number of women. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI – link below), approximately 1.3 % of women will be diagnosed to cancer during their lifetime, and in 2014, they approximated that 222,060 women were living with Ovarian Cancer in the United States.

In addition, as detailed both in the Qmed Article and MIT News (links below), Ovarian Cancer detection is challenging, and usually detection doesn’t occur well after the disease has reached a certain size.

Consequently, this represents an important challenge in healthcare, and with the support of some much needed funding and the investment of great scientific minds, MIT might have used synthetic biomarkers, that, if transferred successfully from the current mouse models to humans, can shave diagnostics time by about 5 months! And five months, can definitely mean a lot for disease detection, treatment and/or management.

Read more about synthetic biomarkers, the challenges with Ovarian Cancer detection, and other interesting information through the links below.

References: 

  1. The Qmed Article: http://www.qmed.com/mpmn/medtechpulse/better-way-find-ovarian-cancer?cid=nl.x.qmed02.edt.aud.qmed.20170503
  2. The MIT News Article: http://news.mit.edu/2017/new-technology-detect-tiny-ovarian-tumors-0410
  3. Some NCI stats on Ovarian Cancer: https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/ovary.html