BACKGROUND: Socioeconomic factors influence access to cancer care and survival. This study investigated the role of socioeconomic status on the risk of breast cancer recurrence and on the delivery of appropriate cancer care (sentinel lymph node biopsy and breast-conserving surgery plus radiotherapy), by patients' age and hormone receptor status.
METHODS: 3,462 breast cancer cases diagnosed in 2003-2005 were selected from 7 Italian cancer registries and assigned to a socioeconomic tertile on the basis of the deprivation index of their census tract. Multivariable models were applied to assess the delivery of sentinel lymph node biopsy and of breast-conserving surgery plus radiotherapy within socioeconomic tertiles.
RESULTS: In the 1,893 women younger than 65 years, the 5-year risk of recurrence was higher in the most deprived group than in the least deprived, but this difference was not significant (16.4% vs. 12.9%, log-rank p=0.08); no difference was seen in women ≥65 years. Among the 2,024 women with hormone receptor-positive cancer, the 5-year risk was significantly higher in the most deprived group than in the least deprived one (13.0% vs. 8.9%, p=0.04); no difference was seen in cases of hormone receptor-negative cancer. The most deprived women were less likely than the least deprived women to receive sentinel lymph node biopsy (adjusted odds ratio (ORa), 0.69; 95% CI, 0.56-0.86) and to undergo breast-conserving surgery plus radiotherapy (ORa=0.66; 95% CI, 0.51-0.86). Conclusions: Socioeconomic inequalities affect the risk of recurrence, among patients with hormone receptor-positive cancer, and the opportunity to receive standard care.
- Journal Article