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New research shows housing assistance programs increase access to important breast cancer screening for some lower income women

The association is strongest for younger women and women in urban areas.

New findings led by ACS researchers show that breast cancer screening is higher for some low-income women who receive government housing assistance compared to those who do not. The odds of breast cancer screening were 30% higher for housing assistance recipients in urban areas, and two-fold higher for recipients aged 45-54 years and those of Hispanic ethnicity. The findings are published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM).

“Receiving housing assistance has been associated with several positive health outcomes and health behaviors in past research, and our findings suggest it can also support cancer screening in some medically underserved groups,” said Dr. Jordan Baeker Bispo, principal scientist, cancer disparity research at the American Cancer Society and lead author of the study. “But we also found more needs to be done to further level the playing field for everyone to be able to access critical screenings for cancer.”

“Despite the promising evidence for these groups, improving housing affordability may not be sufficient to eliminate socioeconomic disparities in cancer screening,” added Baeker Bispo. “Programs that address other key determinants, like access to routine care providers and health literacy, are still needed to enhance access to screening for everyone and help detect cancer early to save lives.”

Dr. Farhad Islami is senior author of the paper. Other ACS authors include Dr. Hyunjung LeeDr. Parichoy Pal Choudhury, and Dr. Ahmedin Jemal.

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