The Role of Safety-Net Hospitals in Reducing Disparities in Breast Cancer Care.

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Publication Date


Publication Title

Annals of surgical oncology : the official journal of the Society of Surgical Oncology


washington; swedish cancer; diversity


Advances in breast cancer screening and systemic therapies have been credited with profound improvements in breast cancer outcomes; indeed, 5-year relative survival rate approaches 91% in the USA (U.S. National Institutes of Health NCI. SEER Training Modules, Breast). While breast cancer mortality has been declining, oncologic outcomes have not improved equally among all races and ethnicities. Many factors have been implicated in breast cancer disparities; chief among them is limited access to care which contributes to lower rates of timely screening mammography and, once diagnosed with breast cancer, lower rates of receipt of guideline concordant care (Wu, Lund, Kimmick GG et al. in J Clin Oncol 30(2):142-150, 2012). Hospitals with a safety-net mission, such as the essential hospitals, historically have been dedicated to providing high-quality care to all populations and have eagerly embraced the role of caring for the most vulnerable and working to eliminate health disparities. In this article, we review landmark articles that have evaluated the role safety-net hospitals have played in providing equitable breast cancer care including to those patients who face significant social and economic challenges.

Clinical Institute


Clinical Institute

Women & Children