Socioeconomic Factors Contribute to Disparities in Breast Cancer Surgery

sabelle Bedrosian, M.D., F.A.C.S. Associate Professor, Department of Surgical Oncology, Division of Surgery Medical Director, Nellie B. Connelly Breast Center The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TXMedicalResearch.com: Interview with:
Isabelle Bedrosian, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Associate Professor, Department of Surgical Oncology, Division of Surgery
Medical Director, Nellie B. Connelly Breast Center
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr.
Bedrosian:
•       National BCT (breast conserving therapy) rates have increased during the last two decades.
•       Disparities based on age, geographic facility location and type of cancer treatment facility have lessened over time.
•       Insurance type and travel distance remain persistently associated with underutilization of breast conserving therapy.
•       Annual income of less than $35K may be emerging as a new association with underutilization of breast conserving therapy.

Medical Research: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Bedrosian: The extent to which socio-economic factors were associated with breast conserving therapy utilization and that in the most recent year of analysis, these socio-economic factors appear to be the greatest source driving the disparity in breast conserving therapy utilization.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Bedrosian: Clinicians should recognize that they have made significant strides in democratizing care for breast cancer patients- these gains are reflecting in the reduction in practice based disparities. However, to address the socio-economic factors that currently appear to be behind the disparities in the surgical treatment of breast cancer will likely require policy level interventions.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Bedrosian: To better define identify the factors behind the socio-economic disparities. These socio-economic factors are likely surrogates for a broad range of considerations such as child care, transportation challenges, time of work, cultural beliefs, etc.  Better clarity on these fronts is needed in order to implement strategies to overcome these socio-economic disparities.

Citation:

2014 Breast Cancer Symposium abstract:

 Abstract 104 entitled “Disparities in utilization of breast conserving therapy among breast cancer patients