Disparities in Access to Mammography in Delaware Revealed by ChristianaCare Study

ChristianaCare

WILMINGTON, DE — A recent study conducted by researchers from ChristianaCare’s Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute has highlighted significant disparities in access to mammography services in Delaware. The study, published in Breast Cancer Research, is the first of its kind to explore the geographic distribution of mammography screening sites in the state and their correlation with population demographics.

Key findings of the research include:

  • A clear disparity exists in the location of mammography facilities and Breast Imaging Centers of Excellence (BICOEs) in relation to the racial makeup and rural/urban divide of communities. For instance, for each standard deviation increase in the number of Black women in a census tract, there were 68% fewer mammography units and 89% fewer BICOEs.
  • Rural counties in Delaware, which account for 41% of the state’s population, have only 22% of the BICOEs.
  • Based on these findings, the researchers conducted a “location-allocation” analysis to identify potential locations for new mammography facilities that would optimize equitable access.

The study underscores the importance of addressing these disparities, particularly given Delaware’s high incidence of late-stage breast cancer among women under 50 and triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), an aggressive subtype that disproportionately affects Black women.

While the research focused on Delaware, the team believes their approach can be replicated in other states or regions to improve access to mammography and reduce breast cancer disparities.

The authors note that living near screening services does not guarantee access for all, and further research is needed to understand the relationship between advanced cancer diagnoses and suboptimal mammography screening rates in communities where other potential disparities have been identified.

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This groundbreaking work continues the conversation about health equity and the critical need for community collaboration to address disparities in breast cancer.

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