White patients have the oldest average at diagnosis at 64.5 years, whereas Hispanic or Latino patients have the youngest average age at 57.2 years.
Data suggest that Hispanic women are, on average, 7 years younger than White women when they receive a breast cancer diagnosis, according to a study conducted by Epic Research.1
Since 2018, across all populations, the average patient age at time of diagnosis has been 63.2 years. However, White patients have the oldest average age of diagnosis at 64.5 years, whereas Hispanic or Latino patients have the youngest average age at 57.2 years.
Despite having the youngest average diagnosis age, Hispanic or Latino patients were the least likely to have undergone a recent breast cancer screening leading up to their breast cancer diagnosis. Only 38.3% of patients had recently undergone a breast cancer screening.
Researchers with Epic assessed a total of 484,177 breast cancer diagnoses between 2018 and 2023. Among the evaluated cases were 28,221 White patients, 5,413 Black patients, 190 American Indian or Alaska Natives, 95 Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders, 1,456 Asian patients, and 2,693 Hispanic patients. The average age at diagnosis, respectively, was 64.5 years, 61.7 years, 61.1 years, 59.2 years, 58.1 years, and 57.2 years.
Investigators noted that Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Other Pacific Islander women were both diagnosed at a younger age than both White and Black women. When investigators controlled for social vulnerability, the differences in age remained the same.
Of note, the group that was most likely to have undergone a recent breast cancer screening were Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander patients—49.4% of these individuals had undergone a recent screening. The percentage of patients who had undergone a recent screening was 47.9% with White individuals, 47.3% with Black Individuals, 42.7% with Asian individuals, and 41.0% with American Indian or Alaskan Natives.
In an interview with Oncology Nursing News®, Kersten Bartelt, RN, clinician at Epic Research, and her co-investigators spoke to the implications of the findings and the broader racial disparities impacting breast cancer diagnoses.
“We found that most Hispanic or Latino women did not have a screening done in the year before they were diagnosed with breast cancer,” they told Oncology Nursing News. “This may indicate that they are symptomatic by the time they are being seen and the diagnostic tests are being run. The other races/ethnicities evaluated all had higher rates of screening prior to their diagnosis.”
“Addressing barriers such as lack of awareness, cultural or language factors, or financial constraints may lead to an increase in screening across populations and ultimately result in earlier diagnosis. The purpose and benefits of screenings should be easy to understand and the screenings themselves should be both accessible and affordable.”
Moving forward, oncology nurses can play an important role in disseminating this information and help connect patients to the services needed to overcome screening barriers.
“Oncology nurses can play a role in providing education on the importance of screening and help remove any potential language or cultural barriers these patients may face when seeking care,” they said. “Nurses can also play a role in connecting patients with the services needed to overcome things like financial or transportation barriers that may be hindering access to screenings or treatment.”
Bartelt K, Maher J, Deckert J, et al. Hispanic women Are diagnosed with breast cancer more than seven years younger than White women, on average. Epic Research. August 14, 2023. Accessed August 18, 2023. https://epicresearch.org/articles/hispanic-women-are-diagnosed-with-breast-cancer-more-than-seven-years-younger-than-white-women-on-average