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Addressing racial health disparities in cancer screening

20 Minute Read

    Cancer screening leaders have focused on increasing screening rates for years. Yet disparities in screening and, subsequently, cancer outcomes continue to persist, particularly among communities of color. Screening leaders must reshape their strategy to reduce the inequities heavily influenced by the social determinants of health. Without doing so, programs cannot meet their mission as providers of preventive care.

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    1: Data derived from CMS’s Carrier File, which is a 100% sample of claims submitted by non-institutional providers for 5% of traditional, fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries.

    2: Data filtered to patients who received a diagnostic mammogram within 6 months of their screening mammogram.

    Pg. 4: “Cancer Disparities,” National Cancer Institute,; CMS’s Carrier File; Advisory Board research.

    Pg. 5: Berchick ER, et al., “Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2017,” United States Census Bureau,; American College of Physicians, “Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care,”; Advisory Board research and analysis.

    Pg. 6: Artiga S, Hinton E, “Beyond Health Care: The Role of Social Determinants in Promoting Health and Health Equity,” KFF,; “Social Determinants of Health”, Physician Executive Council; Advisory Board research.

    Pg. 14: Musa D, Schulz R, et al., “Trust in the Health Care System and the Use of Preventive Health Services by Older Black and White Adults,” AM J Public Health, 99, no. 7 (2009),

    Pg. 17: Schulman KA, et al., “The Effect of Race and Sex on Physicians’ Recommendations for Cardiac Catheterization,” NEJM, 340 (1999),; Badreldin N, et al., “Racial Disparities in Postpartum Pain Management,” Obstetrics & Gynecology, 134, no. 6,; Gordon HS, et al., “Racial differences in doctors’ information-giving and patients’ participation,” Cancer, 107, no. 6,; “Disparity in Data”, Health Care IT Forum, Advisory Board; “Breast cancer risk prediction is less accurate for Black patients. Deep learning is changing that”, Care Transformation Center Blog, Advisory Board.


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