How Does the Environment Impact Racial Disparities in Breast Cancer?

A new study led by Brandi Patrice Smith, a graduate student in food science and human nutrition at the University of Illinois, finds that neighborhood characteristics such as racial composition and poverty rates are associated with increased risks of late-stage breast cancer diagnoses and higher mortality rates among urban Black women.

The study included data from 93,600 Black women living in urban areas across the United States. Patients, ages 19 to 91, were tracked for an average of eight years. Despite thousands of studies on breast cancer that have shown racial disparities in diagnosis and survival rates, only a small number of researchers have explored how these disparities might be related to various factors in women’s living environments, Smith said.

Residential segregation – which was defined as living in a neighborhood with a predominantly African-American population – significantly increased African-American women’s rates of late-stage diagnosis and doubled their chances of dying from breast cancer, according to the study. Comparable mortality rates were found among White women who also lived in predominantly African-American neighborhoods.

“This suggests that the environmental conditions associated with low-income neighborhoods – rather than race itself – increases women’s risks of dying from breast cancer,” Smith said.

The full study, “Urban Neighborhood and Residential Factors Associated with Breast Cancer in African American Women: A Systematic Review,” was published in the journal Hormones and Cancer. It may be accessed here.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Two Black Scholars Appointed to Faculty Positions

The new faculty are Esther Jones at Brown University and Dagmawi Woubshet at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision is Established at Bowie State University

"The new program will help to increase the number of counselor educators within the counseling field and the number of competent Black counselor educators," says Dr. Otis Williams, chair of the Bowie State University department of counseling and psychological studies.

Elizabeth City State University Partners With the University of Tennessee Health Science Center to Increase Representation of Black Graduate...

"We are excited by this partnership with UT Health Science Center and the opportunities this brings to our students who wish to pursue advanced degrees," said Kuldeep Rawat, dean of the Elizabeth City State University School of Science, Health and Technology.

Kimberly White-Smith Honored for Outstanding Contributions to Teacher Education

“Through her leadership and scholarship, Dr. White-Smith inspires a new generation of teachers to serve students and approach their work with equity, compassion, and respect,” said Gail F. Baker, provost and senior vice president at the University of San Diego. 

Featured Jobs