Disparities in Incidence and Mortality rates of Breast Cancer in North Texas Counties
Abstract: Background: Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer, and it is the second leading cause of death among women in Texas. While the age-adjusted breast cancer rates of incidence and mortality in Texas seem to be lower than that of the US population, the burden of breast cancer is not evenly distributed in the Health Service Region 3 that constitutes 17 North Texas Counties. This study was conducted to identify breast cancer disparities in these counties and identify the county with the highest incidence and mortality rates in North Texas.
Methods: This study utilized various secondary data sources from government and nonprofit agencies to obtain the breast cancer incidence and mortality rates of 17 North Texas Counties (Collin, Cooke, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Erath, Grayson, Hood, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Navarro, Parker, Rockwall, Somervell, Tarrant and Wise). Additionally, these data sources were used to study the county demographics and identify possible risk factors contributing to the incidence and mortality rates of these counties.
Results: Our study revealed that Erath County had the highest age-adjusted incidence rate of breast cancer compared to other North Texas Counties for 2011-2014. The incidence rate of breast cancer in Erath county for that period was 136.3 per 100, 000, which was significantly higher than the Texas rate of 111.5 per 100,000 and of the other North Texas counties, with Cook County having the lowest incidence rate of 84.3 per100,000. Other counties that that exceeded the Texas incidence rates were Navarro, Hood, Dallas, Ellis, Tarrant, Collin, Denton, Kaufman, Rockwall and Parker. On the contrary, for 2011-2014, Parker County had the highest age-adjusted breast cancer mortality rate of 26.3 per 100, 000. In addition to Parker County, other counties exceeding the breast cancer state mortality rate of 20.4 per 100,000 were Kaufman, Dallas, Johnson, Rockwall, and Hunt.
Conclusion: For the study period of 2011-2014, we found that Erath County had the highest incidence rate of breast cancer whereas Parker County had the highest age-adjusted mortality rate for the same cancer. The increase in breast cancer incidence and mortality in some North Texas Counties could be due to lack of early education on modifiable risk factors and mammography referral as well as poor health care access.
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