A Microcosm of Disparities in Breast Cancer: Comparison Between a Private Hospital and a Safety-Net County Hospital Within Los Angeles County.

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The American surgeon


diversity/inclusion; jwci; california


Background: Breast cancer survival is improving due to early detection and treatment advances. However, racial/ethnic differences in tumor biology, stage, and mortality remain. The objective of this study was to analyze presumed disparities at a local level.

Methods: Breast cancer patients at a county hospital and private hospital from 2010 to 2012 were retrospectively reviewed. Demographic, clinical, pathologic, and surgical data were collected. Comparisons were made between hospital cohorts and between racial/ethnic groups from both hospitals combined.

Results: 754 patients were included (322 from county hospital and 432 from private hospital). All patients were female. The median age was 54 years at county hospital and 60 years at private hospital (P < .0001). Racial/ethnic minorities comprised 85% of county hospital patients vs. 12% of private hospital patients (P < .0001). County hospital patients had a higher grade, clinical/pathologic stage, HER2-positive rate, and mastectomy rate. Compared to other racial/ethnic groups, non-Hispanic white women were more likely to have lower grade and ER-positive tumors. Hispanic/Latina women were younger and were more likely to have HER2-positive tumors. Both Hispanic/Latina and non-Hispanic black women presented at higher clinical stages and were more likely to undergo neoadjuvant chemotherapy and mastectomy.

Discussion: At county hospital compared to private hospital, the proportion of racial/ethnic minorities was higher, and patients presented at younger ages with more aggressive tumors and more advanced disease. The racial/ethnic disparities that were identified locally are largely consistent with those identified in national database studies. These marked differences at hospitals within a diverse city highlight the need for further research into the disparities.

Keywords: breast; socioeconomic.

Clinical Institute


Clinical Institute

Women & Children