Black medicaid beneficiaries experience breast cancer treatment delays more frequently than whites

Bijal A. Balasubramanian, Kitaw Demissie, Benjamin F. Crabtree, Pamela A. Ohman Strickland, Karen Pawlish, George G. Rhoads

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objective: Delays in treatment initiation may contribute to the poorer breast cancer survival among Black women compared with Whites. Lower socioeconomic status and lack of access to care are other reasons for the observed disparities. We, therefore, examined racial differences in treatment delays for early breast cancer in a similarly insured population of Medicaid beneficiaries. Design and Setting: A retrospective cohort study using linked New Jersey Cancer Registry and Medicaid Research files using logistic regression models. Patients: 237 Black and 485 White women aged 20-64 years diagnosed with early breast cancer between 1997 and 2001. Main Outcome Measure: Delays in treatment initiation. Results: Blacks experience adjuvant chemotherapy delays more often than Whites. Black women had two-fold odds (95% confidence interval, 1.04, 4.38) of $3 months delay in adjuvant chemotherapy than Whites. Blacks were also more likely to experience radiation treatment delays but this finding was not statistically significant (odds ratio 1.72, 95% CI .79, 3.77). No racial differences were observed for surgical and hormonal treatment delays. Conclusion: Blacks experienced delays in initiating adjuvant chemotherapy more frequently than Whites. These differences were observed even in a population with similar socioeconomic status and insurance access, suggesting that cultural and psychosocial factors may contribute to the observed differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-294
Number of pages7
JournalEthnicity and Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology


  • Adjuvant therapy
  • Breast cancer
  • Disparities
  • Medicaid
  • Race
  • Treatment delays

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