Disparities in barriers to follow-up care between African American and White breast cancer survivors
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Despite recommendations for breast cancer survivorship care, African American women are less likely to receive appropriate follow-up care, which is concerning due to their higher mortality rates. This study describes differences in barriers to follow-up care between African American and White breast cancer survivors.
We conducted a mailed survey of women treated for non-metastatic breast cancer in 2009–2011, 6–24 months post-treatment (N = 203). Survivors were asked about 14 potential barriers to follow-up care. We used logistic regression to explore associations between barriers and race, adjusting for covariates.
Our participants included 31 African American and 160 White survivors. At least one barrier to follow-up care was reported by 62 %. Compared to White survivors, African Americans were more likely to identify barriers related to out-of-pocket costs (28 vs. 51.6 %, p = 0.01), other health care costs (21.3 vs. 45.2 %, p = 0.01), anxiety/worry (29.4 vs. 51.6 %, p = 0.02), and transportation (4.4 vs. 16.1 %, p = 0.03). After adjustment for covariates, African Americans were three times as likely to report at least one barrier to care (odds ratio (OR) = 3.3, 95 % confidence interval (CI) = 1.1–10.1).
Barriers to care are common among breast cancer survivors, especially African American women. Financial barriers to care may prevent minority and underserved survivors from accessing follow-up care. Enhancing insurance coverage or addressing out-of-pocket costs may help address financial barriers to follow-up care among breast cancer survivors. Psychosocial care aimed at reducing fear of recurrence may also be important to improve access among African American breast cancer survivors.
KeywordsBarriers Follow-up care Health disparities Cancer survivor Breast cancer
This work was supported by the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, grant numbers 5R21CA155932-02 (AM Geiger, PI) and R25CA122061 (NE Avis, PI). We thank Kim Derzen for her contribution to this study.
This article was prepared while Drs. Geiger and Palmer were employed at Wake Forest School of Medicine. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Health and Human Services, or the United States government.
Conflicts of interest
The authors, Nynikka R. A. Palmer, Kathryn E. Weaver, Sally P. Hauser, Julia A. Lawrence, Jennifer Talton, L. Douglas Case, and Ann M. Geiger, all declare that they have no conflict of interest. We have full control of all primary data and agree to allow the journal to review the data if requested.
All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. Informed consent was obtained from all patients included in this study.
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