Delay in Breast Cancer Treatment Drops Survival Among Young Women

The arrow on this mammogram points to a small ...
The arrow on this mammogram points to a small cancerous lesion. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Researchers evaluated data from the California Cancer Registry database on 8.860 women ages 15-39 years who were diagnosed with breast cancer between 1997 and 2006.

The results: Five-year survival among women who underwent surgery more than 6 weeks after diagnosis was 80% compared with 90% among women who underwent surgery less than 2 weeks after diagnosis (p=0.005).

Significantly higher rates of black and Hispanic women experienced treatment delays longer than 6 weeks, compared with white women (15% versus 8%), and similar disparities were found by insurance status (public or no insurance 19% versus private insurance 9.5%) and socioeconomic status (high 17.5% versus low 8%).

My take: We continue to see evidence of disparities in health care in the USA that can lead to a lower cancer for survival. Much of my personal work with Susan G. Komen foundation is aimed at reducing disparities, whether by race, income, or insurance status. Noblesse oblige! I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.

The small print: The material presented herein is informational only, and is not designed to provide specific guidance for an individual. Please check with a valued health care provider with any questions or concerns. As for me, I am a Harvard- , Yale- and UPenn-educated radiation oncologist, and I practice in the Seattle, WA (USA) area. I feel genuinely privileged to be able to share with you. If you enjoyed today’s offering, please consider clicking the follow button at the bottom of this page.

Available now: Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Both can be found at the Apple Ibooks store. Coming Soon for iPad:  Understand Breast Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes. Thank you.

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Harvard AB Yale MD UPenn Radiation Oncology Radiation Oncologist, Seattle area

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