Breast cancer is that one uninvited guest that makes the dinner table an uncomfortable place. With what we know about breast cancer we do our best to avoid it. Through early detection and proper treatment the patient always has a good chance for survival. Women tend to question if factors such as age, family history, diet and so on, play a part in breast cancer diagnosis.
There are often other factors that determine, or may determine a patient’s chances for getting breast cancer. Geography actually plays a part in that particular equation. Living in poor areas of the country may actually increase a woman’s risk. It’s not that environment plays a part so much as having the means or the facilities near by in order to get the proper tests or treatments.
A good example is women in the Appalachian region. According to an article in auntminnie.com “Older women living in the poorest areas of Appalachia fail to get regular breast cancer screening and have a higher incidence of late-stage breast cancer.” In part this has to do with scarcity of financial resources in those areas. One critical point made by the article was the fact that Appalachia as a whole is massive and it also has a massive shortage of health professionals. It was stated that “Appalachia is made up of 420 contiguous counties across 13 states. In 2010, 69% of these counties were classified as “health professional shortage areas,” and 91% of the most economically stressed counties in Appalachia were designated as shortage areas, according to Anderson’s team. The incidence of late-stage breast cancer in Appalachia is a strong indicator of preventable breast cancer disparity, and it is influenced, in part, by a lack of regular access to mammography.”
With as strong as advocacy for breast cancer is, it’s vital to make this a serious focus. All women need to have access to facilities and healthcare professionals that may be able to help them. This is something that represents a major challenge for people in the advocacy role but it needs to be addressed. Diagnostic imaging procedures play a major role and it’s important that women in these areas find a way to access them. Late stage breast cancer can represent a death sentence. Hopefully, as time goes on, there will be a way to correct this particular problem.
If you have any question about diagnostic imaging procedures, please feel free to give us a call.