Seven young Hispanic women in Indiana were diagnosed with a rare breast disease called idiopathic granulomatous mastitis (IGM) between 2006 and 2009, making it the largest cluster of the disease ever reported in the United States, says a report released Thursday.
IGM features symptoms similar to breast cancer. The cause is unknown.
The cluster of cases among Hispanic women in Indiana is the first time in the United States that a higher prevalence of IGM has been identified in a particular ethnic group, researchers said.
All of the patients experienced delays in receiving care, with an average of five months between symptom onset and diagnostic biopsy. The women had a number of significant risk factors, including low education levels, positive tuberculin skin test results and medication allergies.
The researchers suggested that identifying barriers to prompt health care access may lead to earlier diagnosis of IGM.
The article appears in this week's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.