Mediators of Ethnic Disparities in Breast Cancer Prognosis (CPHHD project 4)


This project examines the disparity in breast cancer prognosis by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status.


The objective of this center is to explain the continuing disparity in breast cancer prognosis by race/ethnicity (Black and Hispanic vs. White) and socioeconomic status. This objective was selected jointly with our Breast Cancer Task Force composed of our community partners. We are examining biological, social, environmental, and behavioral factors that are associated with the disparity in stage at diagnosis and prognosis for breast cancer. Our particular focus of this project is on understanding how the interplay between biological and environmental factors contribute to the racial and ethnic disparity in breast cancer prognosis.

In this project we are examining why, when rates of mammography are equivalent, prognosis varies by race and ethnicity when they present for diagnosis; examine how women’s fears, trust of the health care delivery system, and extent of contact with the system contribute to delay in obtaining a mammogram or diagnosis of an anomalous finding from a mammogram or clinical breast exam; explore the interaction between community of residence and biological markers of stress on tumor aggressiveness and occurrence of interval cancers; examine how the social networks affect the likelihood of obtaining appropriate health care that finds early cancer and ensure efficient diagnosis and effective treatment; and develop and maintain a strong partnership with the community.

Rapid case ascertainment is being conducted by the Illinois State Cancer Registry (ISCR) in all hospitals in Chicago. Patients are recruited proportional to the number of breast cancers treated in each hospital in 2004 by race. Total sample of breast cancer patients are 1000 (425 African American, 425 Caucasian, and 150 Hispanic). Recruited patients are asked to: 1) complete a 90 minute face-to-face interview, 2) consent to a blood draw, to 3) permit access to their medical records, 4) permit access to tumor tissue from pathology, and 5) assist us to contact up to five members of their social networks and spouse or partner (if applicable). In addition, Dr. Ferrans is interviewing 300 women waiting for diagnostic work-up at Stroger Cook County and University of Illinois Hospitals about how cultural beliefs have affected their decisions to seek diagnosis of a breast anomaly.

Funding Agency

National Cancer Institute through the UIC Center for Population Health and Health Disparities


Principal investigator
Garth H. Rauscher, PhD

Andre A. Kajdacsy-Balla, MD, PhD

Start date
End date
About this grant

This is a study within a center grant, Center for Population Health and Health Disparities.