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breast reconstruction minority, breast reconstruction African American, breast reconstruction access


Postmastectomy breast reconstruction is a therapy that has been shown to have positive psychological effects on its recipients. There is evidence that racial disparities in its use exist, particularly among African American (AA) women. The purpose of this targeted review of the literature was to examine the use of postmastectomy breast reconstruction among AA women and to explore factors that contribute to such disparities. Published literature that evaluated rates of breast reconstruction in AA women, as well as barriers to reconstruction in this population, was reviewed. All of the reviewed data consisted of retrospective studies. There are conflicting data in the literature regarding disparities in the rates of postmastectomy breast reconstruction among AA women. However, a majority of studies found that AA women were less likely (odds ratios: 0.36-0.71) to receive postmastectomy breast reconstruction compared to white women. System-associated factors, physician-associated factors, and patient-associated factors interact in a complex manner that contributes to the reported disparities. Although there are trends suggesting racial disparities in the rates of postmastectomy breast reconstruction exist, the published data are retrospective and are inherently limited. The pursuit of breast reconstruction is highly individual and involves multiple factors that interact in a complex manner. To this end, prospective studies encompassing sociodemographic factors, clinical factors, and patient preferences are necessary to determine what interventions by physicians can have the greatest impact in ensuring equal access to this therapy when it is desired.

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Cancer Control, v. 24, issue 4, p. 1-6

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