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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Hispanic Breast Cancer Patients Travel Further for Equitable Surgical Care at a Comprehensive Cancer Center.


Purpose: Disparities in surgical breast cancer care have been documented for racial and ethnic minorities. On average, these minorities are less likely to utilize National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers and travel shorter distances to receive care. With the growing population of Hispanic patients in California, we analyzed the travel distance and surgical care of Hispanic and non-Hispanic patients at our large referral cancer center. Methods: Patients included were those who initiated treatment for a new diagnosis of ductal carcinoma in situ or invasive breast cancer at our NCI-designated cancer center during the period 2010-2014. Ethnicity was dichotomized as Hispanic and non-Hispanic. Google Maps were used to determine the distance from patient zip code to our institution, classified as 0-10, 10-30, 30-60, and >60 miles. Results: A total of 1765 non-Hispanic and 173 Hispanic patients were identified. Clinical stage by tumor size and nodal status were comparable between the two groups. Hispanic patients were younger (p<0.001) and more had Medicaid insurance (p<0.001). Hispanic patients traveled further when compared with non-Hispanics (p<0.001). In non-Hispanics and Hispanics, rates of breast conservation were 57.4% and 52.3% (p=0.30), unilateral mastectomy 34.2% and 36.2% (p=0.44), bilateral mastectomy 8.4% and 11.5% (p=0.24), and immediate postmastectomy reconstruction 42.6% and 50.6% (p=0.34), respectively. Hispanic ethnicity was not associated with different odds of receiving breast conservation (odds ratio [OR] 1.01, confidence interval [CI] 0.73-1.40), unilateral mastectomy (OR 1.05, CI 0.75-1.44), bilateral mastectomy (OR 1.37, CI 0.81-2.31), or immediate postmastectomy breast reconstruction (OR 1.27, CI 0.86-1.88), when compared with non-Hispanic ethnicity, after controlling for patient age, insurance status, and distance traveled. Conclusions: Surgical care was similar for Hispanic and non-Hispanic patients treated at our NCI-designated cancer center. However, this Hispanic population traveled further than non-Hispanic patients. Our findings suggest that accessibility to transportation and institutional practices are instrumental in delivering equitable breast cancer surgical care for Hispanic patients.

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