Annals of Surgical Oncology

, Volume 21, Issue 10, pp 3336–3341 | Cite as

Breast Cancer Screening Patterns Among Military Beneficiaries: Racial Variations in Screening Eliminated in an Equal-Access Model

Breast Oncology

Abstract

Background

African American women present with more aggressive breast tumors and at later stages than white women. Many factors have been proposed to explain these findings, including socioeconomic status, cultural beliefs, and access to medical care. The purpose of this project was to determine if stage at presentation would be equivalent in a system providing equal access to care and if screening was equivalent.

Methods

The Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) tumor registry from 2007 to 2012 was queried for this cross-sectional study. Eligible women included all those diagnosed and treated for breast cancer at NMCSD. Distribution of tumor stage (early vs. advanced) between racial groups was compared by age, treatment, and receptor status.

Results

A total of 624 women were eligible; 88 % were early stage (0–II) and 12 % presented with advanced stage (III or IV). Racial differences in distribution were significant among African American and Hispanic women for early versus advanced presentation (p = 0.011). No racial disparity was seen in screening patterns among women.

Conclusions

In a military health system with equal access to care and standard screening recommendations, screening patterns did not vary with race but did vary with stage and active duty status. African American women present with breast cancer at later stages and with more hormone-receptor negative tumors, suggesting that biology rather than socioeconomic or access factors may be the most important determinant of stage at presentation of breast cancer for African American women.

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Copyright information

© Society of Surgical Oncology 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of General SurgeryNaval Medical Center San DiegoSan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryUniformed Services UniversityBethesdaUSA

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