Black and Latin Women Struggle the most with Financial Problems after Breast Cancer

Breast-CancerA new US study has revealed that Black and Latin breast cancer patients are the ones who are more than twice as likely as white women to have persisting medical debt and not to seek treatment because of money constraint. The conclusion was drawn after surveying 1,500 women diagnosed with mostly early stage breast cancers.

It was found by researchers that about 25% of women in the study had financial problems because of the disease.

"Although we were able to control for factors such as overall household income in this study, it is likely that other disparities and challenges faced by minority populations persist in our society even today, contributing to the differences observed", said author Dr. Reshma Jagsi.

Jagsi and her coauthors conducted the study between 2005 and 2007 to survey women diagnosed with mostly early-stage breast cancers. The disease in those women had not spread nine months after diagnosis and four years later.

The women belonged to the Los Angeles and Detroit areas and 50% of them had received chemotherapy. They found that 12% of them were having medical debt at the four-year survey.

The study, reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, involved 9% of the white women compared to 10% of the Spanish-speaking Latinas, 17% of the English-speaking Latinas and 15% of the black women.

Cancer treatments led about 35% of the women to spend $2,000 or more compared to 17% who spent more than $5,000.

Due to high cost of medication, 6% of black women compared to 3% of white women were not able to the full amount of their prescribed medications in the last year. Besides, appointments with doctors were also missed by Black and Latina women because of cost in comparison to white women. Cancer is one of the most expensive diseases to treat in the US.