Master's Culminating Experience
Background: Disparities exist in cancer incidence and mortality between specific population groups in the United States. Breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer diagnosed in women. Breast cancer ranks as the second highest leading cause of death for women in the state of Ohio and in the United States. Perhaps more concerning, breast cancer is the leading cause of death for Hispanic women and ranks second for white, black, Asian, and Native American women. Specifically, women of low socioeconomic status (SES) have been shown to have lower rates of survival.
Methods: A descriptive study of breast cancer primary prevention and early detection factors was conducted on Montgomery County women using acquired data sets and secondary sources of data. In addition, a descriptive analysis of women with breast cancer in Montgomery County was conducted.
Results: Montgomery County had the highest breast cancer incidence compared to Ohio, the United States, and other Metropolitan counties in Ohio with similar population sizes and demographics. Additionally, Montgomery County had a high percentage of women who were diagnosed at a late stage. Chances of survival decrease as stages progress. Montgomery County has a lower median household income than either Ohio or the United States. It also has a higher percentage of families below the poverty level when compared to Ohio. SES is associated with an increased risk of developing and dying from cancer. Montgomery County has a high percentage of individuals who smoke tobacco and do not get any physical activity. Approximately 80 percent of women with breast cancer in Montgomery County survived.
Discussion: The SES of women in Montgomery County, the high number of people who use tobacco, below average breast feeding numbers, and high percentage of obese and overweight individuals compounded with a higher percentage of individuals who do not get any exercise contribute to a high rate of breast cancer incidence in Montgomery County. Health disparities exist, but more data needs to be collected to confirm the correlation. African American women face higher mortality rates in Montgomery County than any other race. Interventions for Montgomery County specifically include smoking cessation programs, nutrition programs which address diet and physical activity, increased awareness for breastfeeding, and improved access to screening for minority populations.
Jilani, D. (2010). Montgomery County Breast Cancer Study: Demographic Analysis of Breast Cancer in Montgomery County, Ohio. Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio.