Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from IJHG and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Research

Evaluating the disparity of female breast cancer mortality among racial groups - a spatiotemporal analysis

Chiehwen Ed Hsu12*, Holly Jacobson3 and Francisco Soto Mas3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Health Management and Policy, School of Public Health, University of North Texas Health Science Center, 3500 Camp Bowie Blvd, ME1-740. Fort Worth, TX 76107. USA

2 School of Health Information Sciences, University of Texas-Houston Health Science Center, 7000 Fannin, UCT 600, Houston, TX 77030. USA

3 Department of Social and Behavioural Sciences, School of Public Health, University of North Texas Health Science Center. 3500 Camp Bowie Blvd, ME1-711. Fort Worth, TX 76107. USA

For all author emails, please log on.

International Journal of Health Geographics 2004, 3:4  doi:10.1186/1476-072X-3-4

Published: 26 February 2004

Abstract

Background

The literature suggests that the distribution of female breast cancer mortality demonstrates spatial concentration. There remains a lack of studies on how the mortality burden may impact racial groups across space and over time. The present study evaluated the geographic variations in breast cancer mortality in Texas females according to three predominant racial groups (non-Hispanic White, Black, and Hispanic females) over a twelve-year period. It sought to clarify whether the spatiotemporal trend might place an uneven burden on particular racial groups, and whether the excess trend has persisted into the current decade.

Methods

The Spatial Scan Statistic was employed to examine the geographic excess of breast cancer mortality by race in Texas counties between 1990 and 2001. The statistic was conducted with a scan window of a maximum of 90% of the study period and a spatial cluster size of 50% of the population at risk. The next scan was conducted with a purely spatial option to verify whether the excess mortality persisted further. Spatial queries were performed to locate the regions of excess mortality affecting multiple racial groups.

Results

The first scan identified 4 regions with breast cancer mortality excess in both non-Hispanic White and Hispanic female populations. The most likely excess mortality with a relative risk of 1.12 (p = 0.001) occurred between 1990 and 1996 for non-Hispanic Whites, including 42 Texas counties along Gulf Coast and Central Texas. For Hispanics, West Texas with a relative risk of 1.18 was the most probable region of excess mortality (p = 0.001). Results of the second scan were identical to the first. This suggested that the excess mortality might not persist to the present decade. Spatial queries found that 3 counties in Southeast and 9 counties in Central Texas had excess mortality involving multiple racial groups.

Conclusion

Spatiotemporal variations in breast cancer mortality affected racial groups at varying levels. There was neither evidence of hot-spot clusters nor persistent spatiotemporal trends of excess mortality into the present decade. Non-Hispanic Whites in the Gulf Coast and Hispanics in West Texas carried the highest burden of mortality, as evidenced by spatial concentration and temporal persistence.