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Ann Surg Oncol. 2015 Sep;22(9):2902-11. doi: 10.1245/s10434-015-4397-3. Epub 2015 Feb 5.

Disparities in breast cancer surgery delay: the lingering effect of race.

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Breast Cancer Program and Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC, USA,



Delays to surgical breast cancer treatment of 90 days or more may be associated with greater stage migration. We investigated racial disparities in time to receiving first surgical treatment in breast cancer patients.


Insured black (56 %) and white (44 %) women with primary breast cancer completed telephone interviews regarding psychosocial (e.g., self-efficacy) and health care factors (e.g., communication). Clinical data were extracted from medical charts. Time to surgery was measured as the days between diagnosis and definitive surgical treatment. We also examined delays of more than 90 days. Unadjusted hazard ratios (HRs) examined univariate relationships between delay outcomes and covariates. Cox proportional hazard models were used for multivariate analyses.


Mean time to surgery was higher in blacks (mean 47 days) than whites (mean 33 days; p = .001). Black women were less likely to receive therapy before 90 days compared to white women after adjustment for covariates (HR .58; 95 % confidence interval .44, .78). Health care process factors were nonsignificant in multivariate models. Women with shorter delay reported Internet use (vs. not) and underwent breast-conserving surgery (vs. mastectomy) (p < .01).


Prolonged delays to definitive breast cancer surgery persist among black women. Because the 90-day interval has been associated with poorer outcomes, interventions to address delay are needed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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