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Where patients live has big effect on breast cancer treatment

The quality of care for breast cancer depends much more on where in the country women are treated than on their race or ethnicity. That’s the finding from an analysis of the medical records of nearly 32,000 women diagnosed with stage I to stage III breast cancer from 2007 through 2013.

Researchers compared diagnosis at stage I and whether women received chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy during the first year, and continued hormone therapy during years 3 to 5.

Black women were less likely to be at stage I at diagnosis and received less radiation and hormone therapy than other women. But what race or ethnicity a woman was mattered far less for the quality of the treatment she received than where she got the treatment.

The researchers also found “remarkable” that although hormone treatment “confers an impressive one-third reduction in the risk of death from breast cancer in the first 15 years after diagnosis,” it was the therapy least used and varied most by region.

What Explains ‘Sobering’ Variations in Breast Cancer Care?
A video commentary on the Hassett et al. study from Medscape
by Kathy D. Miller, MD, of Indiana University

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