Background: Although non-Hispanic white women have an increased risk of developing breast cancer, the disease-specific survival is lower for African American and Hispanic women. Little is known about disparities in follow-up after an abnormal mammogram. The goal of this study was to investigate potential disparities in follow-up after an abnormal mammogram.
Methods: A retrospective cohort study of 6722 women with an abnormal mammogram and documented follow-up from January 2000 through December 2002 was performed at an academic medical center in New York City. The outcome was the number of days between the abnormal mammogram and follow-up imaging or biopsy. Cox proportional hazards models were used to assess the effect of race/ethnicity and other potential covariates.
Results: The median number of days to diagnostic follow-up after an abnormal mammogram was greater for African American (20 days) and Hispanic (21 days) women compared with non-Hispanic white (14 days) women (p < 0.001). Racial/ethnic disparities remained significant in a multivariable model controlling for age, Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BIRADS) category, insurance status, provider practice location, and median household income.
Conclusions: After an abnormal mammogram, African American and Hispanic women had longer times to diagnostic follow-up compared with non-Hispanic white women. Future efforts will focus on identifying the barriers to follow-up so that effective interventions may be implemented.