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Non-White Breast Cancer Patients May Face Chemo Delay

African-Americans, Hispanics more likely to face two- or three-month delays

TUESDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Most breast cancer patients receive adjuvant chemotherapy in a timely fashion, but African-American and Hispanic patients are more likely than white patients to experience delays to adjuvant chemotherapy in excess of 60 or 90 days, according to research published online Aug. 9 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Stacey A. Fedewa, of the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues evaluated factors associated with delayed adjuvant chemotherapy in 107,587 women diagnosed between 2004 and 2006 with invasive breast cancer.

The researchers found that 85.2 and 95.8 percent of women received adjuvant chemotherapy within 60 and 90 days post-surgery, respectively, with an average time to chemotherapy of 41.46 days. African-American and Hispanic patients, however, were more likely to experience 60-day delays (risk ratios, 1.36 and 1.31, respectively) and 90-day delays (risk ratios, 1.56 and 1.41, respectively) than white patients. Other factors associated with delayed adjuvant chemotherapy included insurance type, cancer stage, comorbidities, and treatment facility type.

"The majority of women in our study received adjuvant chemotherapy within the time frame (90 days) for which there is no evidence of poorer outcome. However, the rate of delay varied by patient and by clinical and facility factors. Future studies on the role of structural, physician, clinical, and patient factors in adjuvant chemotherapy delay in populations of women with higher rates of delay and potential interventions are needed," the authors write.

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