Disparities in Care
Sometimes an article comes along that hits all of my social worker buttons. From Eureka Alert, this is one of them. We all know that women across the US do not all receive the same high quality care that we have in Boston. This research from LSU, however, pins the blame for that pretty squarely on poverty. Here is the beginning and then a link:
LSUHSC research finds many women not receiving recommended breast cancer adjuvant treatment
New Orleans, LA - A first-of-its kind study led by Xiao-Cheng Wu, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Public Health at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, reports that a significant number of women are not receiving guideline-recommended treatment for breast cancer and what factors contribute. The research is published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology December 5, 2011 Early Release section.
The research team, which also included Vivien Chen, PhD, Professor and Director of the Louisiana Tumor Registry at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Public Health, explored how race/ethnicity, insurance status, poverty, education, and hospital type were associated with the delivery of guideline-recommended adjuvant systemic therapy for breast cancers. Adjuvant systemic therapies like chemotherapy, a regimen of a group of specific chemotherapy drugs, and hormone therapy often follow an initial treatment like surgery to treat cells that may be too small to be seen and to reduce the chances of recurrence. Decisions about whether or not adjuvant systemic therapies are indicated, and which type, are determined by lymph node status, histology, tumor size, grade, and hormonal receptor status. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines were developed to improve cancer care and survival.
For this very large study of 6,734 women using Pattern of Care data from population-based cancer registries, the researchers grouped women by whether or not they received chemotherapy, chemotherapy regimen, or hormone therapy, according to the NCCN guidelines. The researchers found that 35% of the women studied received non-guideline chemotherapy (either no chemotherapy although recommended or use of chemotherapy when not recommended), 12% received non-guideline regimens (not treated with the chemotherapy drugs recommended), and 20% received non-guideline hormone therapy.