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Increased Incidence of Loco-Regional Recurrences Among African American Women with Terminal Stage Breast Cancer

Keywords: oncology , LRR , loco-regional recurrences , breast cancer , African American women , terminal breast cancer , terminal stage breast cancer

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A prospective analysis of women with terminal breast cancer admitted to CHNE from November 2006-August 2007 evaluated anecdotal observations that African American (AA) women are likelier than Caucasian women to evidence loco-regional recurrences (LRR). Women with terminal breast cancer who were admitted to CHNE, a not-for-profit hospice serving over 90% of Northeast Florida hospice patients, were eligible for participation. 134 terminal breast cancer patients were assessed by hospice nurses for LRR presence via chest wall examination. 80% of them (107) were Caucasian, 17% (23) were AA and 3% (4) were of other ethnicities. Evidence of LRR were noted in 13% of the women (17/134). The pro- portion of patients with LRR was higher in AA women than Caucasian women (26% vs. 10%, 6/23 vs. 11/107, respectively), although this difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.08). The majority of Caucasian women with LRR consented to a medical record review, but a minority of AA women consented (8/11 vs. 2/6, respectively, p = 0.16).Conclusion: Evaluating disparities in breast cancer care outcomes is possible by reviewing data from patients served by hospice programs that aid a majority of patients within a community. This pilot data suggests that AA women with breast cancer have a higher incidence of loco-regional failure as a component of their terminal breast cancer disease than Caucasian women. A smaller proportion of AA patients and families agreed to participate in a medical record review study than Caucasians. Larger studies are necessary to confirm these findings, to elucidate factors contributing to disparities and to develop potential solutions.


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