Barriers to immediate breast reconstruction in the Canadian universal health care system

J Clin Oncol. 2014 Jul 10;32(20):2133-41. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2013.53.0774. Epub 2014 Jun 2.


Purpose: To describe the population-based rates of immediate breast reconstruction (IBR) for all women undergoing mastectomy for treatment or prophylaxis of breast cancer in the past decade, and to evaluate geographic, institutional, and patient factors that influence use in the publically funded Canadian health care system.

Methods: This population-based retrospective cohort study used administrative data that included 28,176 women who underwent mastectomy (25,141 mastectomy alone and 3,035 IBR) between April 1, 2002, and March 31, 2012, in Ontario, Canada. We evaluated factors associated with IBR by using a multivariable logistic regression model with the generalized estimating equation approach.

Results: The population-based, age-adjusted IBR rate increased from 5.1 procedures to 8.7 in 100,000 adult women (43.7%; P < .001), and the increase was greatest for prophylactic mastectomy or therapeutic mastectomy for in situ breast cancer (78.6%; P < .001). Women who lived in neighborhoods with higher median income had significantly increased odds of IBR compared with mastectomy alone (odds ratio [OR], 1.71; 95% CI, 1.47 to 2.00), and immigrant women had significantly lower odds (OR, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.44 to 0.78). A patient had nearly twice the odds of receiving IBR when she was treated at a teaching hospital (OR, 1.84; 95% CI, 1.1 to 3.06) or at a hospital with two or more available plastic surgeons (OR, 2.01; 95% CI, 1.53 to 2.65). Patients who received IBR traveled significantly farther compared with those who received mastectomy alone (OR, 1.04; 95% CI, 1.02 to 1.05 for every 10 km increase).

Conclusion: IBR is available to select patients with favorable clinical and demographic characteristics who travel farther to undergo surgery at teaching hospitals with two or more available plastic surgeons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Carcinoma in Situ / surgery*
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Teaching / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Income*
  • Logistic Models
  • Mammaplasty / methods
  • Mastectomy
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Ontario
  • Physicians / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Universal Health Insurance