A team of researchers from Wright State University’s Boonshoft School of Medicine will help Madison County investigate why the county has the highest breast cancer rate and the highest mortality rate due to breast cancer in Ohio.
Between 2001 and 2003, Madison County’s breast cancer incidence rate was 153 per 100,000 people, much higher than the state rate of 122 per 100,000 and national rate of 125 per 100,000, according to the Centers for Disease Con-trol. The breast cancer mortality rate in Madison County between 1989 and 2004 was 40 per 100,000, compared to 28 per 100,000 for all of Ohio and 25.5 per 100,000 for the United States.
“We have a public health crisis in Madison County. When I found out that we have the largest number of deaths per capita due to breast cancer in the state, I requested that a study be conducted to find the source of the problem,” said State Rep. Chris Widener, whose constituency includes Madison County and parts of Clark and Greene counties.
“I thank Wright State and their world class researchers for taking on this task, so informed steps can be taken to curb this crisis.”
Dr. Richard Schuster, director of the Center for Global Health Systems, Man-agement and Policy, will lead the study. The other two researchers involved in the study are Sara Paton, assistant professor and epidemiologist, and Marietta Langlois, associate professor of health, physical education and recreation and a community health educator.
“Our goal is to try to understand why Madison County has the misfortune of having both of those situations,” Schuster said.
The three researchers and faculty associated with WSU’s Center for Global Health Systems, Manage-ment and Policy will analyze local and national data on the county’s breast cancer rates. The study, which is funded by Wright State, coincides with a multi-year, $2 million campaign led by Madison County Hospital to expand breast cancer aware-ness and diagnostic services.
“A higher death rate from breast cancer suggests that patients are waiting longer than they should to seek diagnosis and treatment,” Schuster said. “In that case, an education program to increase breast cancer awareness could save lives.”
The Center for Global Health Systems, Management and Policy is part of the Department of Community Health at Boonshoft School of Medicine. The center’s goals are to improve the quality, efficiency and access to health care. The center’s 70 associated faculty play a role in developing national models.