Publication Abstract

Authors: Smith-Gagen J, Carrillo JE, Ang A, Pérez-Stable EJ

Title: Practices that reduce the Latina survival disparity after breast cancer.

Journal: J Womens Health (Larchmt) 22(11):938-46

Date: 2013 Nov

Abstract: OBJECTIVES: Latina breast cancer patients are 20 percent more likely to die within 5 years after diagnosis compared with white women, even though they have a lower incidence of breast cancer, lower general mortality rates, and some better health behaviors. Existing data only examine disparities in the utilization of breast cancer care; this research expands the study question to which utilization factors drive the shorter survival in Latina women compared with white women. METHODS: This longitudinal linked Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER)-Medicare cohort study examined early stage breast cancer patients diagnosed between 1992 and 2000 and followed for 5-11 years after diagnosis (N=44,999). Modifiable utilization factors included consistent visits to primary care providers and to specialists after diagnosis, consistent post-diagnosis mammograms, and receipt of initial care consistent with current standards of care. RESULTS: Of the four utilization factors potentially driving this disparity, a lack of consistent post-diagnosis mammograms was the strongest driver of the Latina breast cancer survival disparity. Consistent mammograms attenuated the hazard of death from 23% [hazard ratio, HR, (95% confidence interval, 95%CI)=1.23 (1.1,1.4)] to a nonsignificant 12% [HR (95%CI)=1.12 (0.7,1.3)] and reduced the excess hazard of death in Latina women by 55%. Effect modification identified that visits to primary care providers have a greater protective impact on the survival of Latina compared to white women [HR (95%CI)=0.9 (0.9,0.9)]. CONCLUSIONS: We provide evidence that undetected new or recurrent breast cancers due to less consistent post-diagnosis mammograms contribute substantially to the long-observed Latina survival disadvantage. Interventions involving primary care providers may be especially beneficial to this population.