Breast reconstruction varies by race, study finds

October 5, 2009
Breast reconstruction varies by race, study finds
Amy Alderman, M.D., M.P.H., is with the University of Michigan Health System. Credit: University of Michigan Health System

Latinas who spoke little English were less likely to undergo reconstruction surgery after a mastectomy for breast cancer, according to a study from researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The study compared among white , African-American women, Latina women who were highly acculturated and Latina women who were less acculturated. Acculturation is a measure of how much a person is integrated into American society. For Latinas, a significant factor is whether they speak primarily English or Spanish.

The researchers looked at 806 women treated for in Detroit and Los Angeles. They found 41 percent of white women and 41 percent of highly acculturated Latinas underwent reconstruction, while only 34 percent of African-Americans and 14 percent of less acculturated Latinas did.

Results of the study appear online Oct. 5 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

"We have good data that shows reconstruction after mastectomy improves quality of life. This is a body part that affects women's self esteem, , sexuality and social roles. Not all women should necessarily choose reconstruction - it's not right for everyone. But all women should be presented the option," says lead study author Amy Alderman, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of plastic surgery at the U-M Medical School.

The study authors found that the lagging reconstruction rates did not correlate to a lack of interest. In fact, more than half of the less-acculturated Latinas said they would have liked more information about breast reconstruction. This group was also less likely to report that their surgeon explained breast reconstruction, and they were less likely to be referred to a plastic surgeon than the other racial groups.

"Reconstruction is important to these women, but significantly more of the less-acculturated Latinas did not know how to get it. It suggests significant unmet needs for this vulnerable group. They have a desire for reconstruction, but no one's telling them about it," Alderman says.

The study showed similar trends for African-American women, although the most striking data was among the less-acculturated Latinas.

Breast reconstruction was tied to patients' satisfaction with their surgery. The highest satisfaction rates were from white women who had received reconstruction, among whom 94 percent were satisfied with their treatment. The lowest satisfaction, 56 percent, was among less-acculturated Latinas who did not receive reconstruction.

More information: Journal of Clinical Oncology, DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2009.22.2455

Source: University of Michigan Health System (news : web)

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Cancer immunotherapy may work better in patients with specific genes

December 15, 2017
Cancer cells arise when DNA is mutated, and these cells should be recognized as "foreign" by the immune system. However, cancer cells have found ways to evade detection by the immune system.

Scientists pinpoint gene to blame for poorer survival rate in early-onset breast cancer patients

December 15, 2017
A new study led by scientists at the University of Southampton has found that inherited variation in a particular gene may be to blame for the lower survival rate of patients diagnosed with early-onset breast cancer.

'Bet hedging' explains the efficacy of many combination cancer therapies

December 14, 2017
The efficacy of many FDA-approved cancer drug combinations is not due to synergistic interactions between drugs, but rather to a form of "bet hedging," according to a new study published by Harvard Medical School researchers ...

Liquid biopsy results differed substantially between two providers

December 14, 2017
Two Johns Hopkins prostate cancer researchers found significant disparities when they submitted identical patient samples to two different commercial liquid biopsy providers. Liquid biopsy is a new and noninvasive alternative ...

Testing the accuracy of FDA-approved and lab-developed cancer genetics tests

December 14, 2017
Cancer molecular testing can drive clinical decision making and help a clinician determine if a patient is a good candidate for a targeted therapeutic drug. Clinical tests for common cancer causing-mutations in the genes ...

Scientists unlock structure of mTOR, a key cancer cell signaling protein

December 14, 2017
Researchers in the Sloan Kettering Institute have solved the structure of an important signaling molecule in cancer cells. They used a new technology called cryo-EM to visualize the structure in three dimensions. The detailed ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.