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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Racial and Socio-economic Differences in Breast Cancer Surgery Outcomes Studied by UAB

In a recent study, Dr. Tomi Akinyemiju, assistant professor in the department of epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, in collaboration with colleagues, investigated racial and socio-economic differences in surgery treatment, post-surgical complications, length of stay in hospital, and death among hospitalized breast cancer patients.

[Photo: Dr. Tomi Akinyemiju]

“We were interested in evaluating race/ethnic and socio-economic differences in surgical outcomes among 71,156 women hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of breast cancer using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample database. The large size of the dataset allowed us to control for many other factors that could distort the association we were studying.” says Dr. Akinyemiju.

Study results indicate that, when compared with White patients, Black women were more likely to receive surgery that conserves the breast, while being less likely to receive mastectomies, even though they were more likely to present with advanced disease. In addition, Black women experienced considerably longer stays in the hospital, more post-surgical complications, and higher in-hospital mortality when compared with their White counterparts, after adjusting for such factors as the type of treatment received and number of comorbidities.

Dr. Akinyemiju concludes, “Among patients hospitalized for breast cancer, there were racial differences observed in treatment and outcomes. Future studies will be needed to better understand whether these differences are due to individual, provider level or hospital level factors, and to highlight areas for targeted approaches to eliminate these disparities.”

“Race/Ethnicity and Socio-economic Differences in Breast Cancer Surgery Outcomes” was published online in July in the journal Cancer Epidemiology.

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