Racial Disparities in Genetic Testing of Women With Breast Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Cary P. Gross, MD Section of General Internal Medicine Yale University School of Medicine New Haven, CT

Dr. Cary Gross

Cary P. Gross, MD
Section of General Internal Medicine
Yale University School of Medicine
New Haven, CT

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Prior work has demonstrated racial and socioeconomic disparities in breast cancer diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes.  As the oncology field has progressed over the past decade, the use of genetic testing to guide treatment decisions is one of the most exciting new developments.

Our team was concerned that these new gene tests, which can offer important benefits, may have the potential to exacerbate disparities further.  That is, if there is unequal access to gene testing among patients for whom it is recommended, then our progress against cancer will not be equitably shared among people of all races and ethnicities.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: We found that there are important differences in access to gene expression profile testing.

This underscores the need to not only develop new approaches to cancer care, but that the scientific and policy community must ensure that people have access to them.
Because after all, what good is discovering a cure for cancer if people can’t obtain it?

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response:   We need to understand the barriers to uptake of gene testing, and clarify which patients are most likely to benefit.  As our country is debating different options for providing insurance coverage, our study stands as a reminder that we must not forget to ensure all patients have equitable access to high quality care.

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Brigette A. Davis, Jenerius A. Aminawung, Maysa M. Abu-Khalaf, Suzanne B. Evans, Kevin Su, Rajni Mehta, Shi-Yi Wang, and Cary P. Gross

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Oncotype DX Test Receipt in a Statewide Population-Based Study
J Natl Compr Canc Netw 2017;15:346-354



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Last Updated on March 16, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD