Studies examining patterns of cancer care before 2000 have shown underuse of postmastectomy breast reconstruction as well as racial and socioeconomic disparities in its delivery. These findings prompted legislation designed to broaden use at the turn of the millennium. However, little is known about trends in these findings over the past decade.
Patients who underwent mastectomy for stage 0 to III breast cancer between 1998 and 2007 (n = 452,903) were studied using the National Cancer Data Base to evaluate trends in the receipt of immediate and early delayed breast reconstruction. Those who underwent mastectomy between 1998 and 2000 (n = 150,177) and between 2005 and 2007 (n = 123,518) were compared using logistic regression to identify factors influencing the use of breast reconstruction and how they changed over time.
The use of postmastectomy breast reconstruction increased from 13% to 26% from 1998 to 2007. This increase was statistically significant in almost all patient subsets. Independent factors associated with breast reconstruction included age less than 50 years old; higher census-derived household income; private or managed care insurance; non-African American race; and treatment in an academic hospital setting. Treatment in an academic hospital and higher income became stronger predictors of breast reconstruction over the study period, while age became less of a predictor.
Although the use of breast reconstruction has increased from 1998 to 2007, it is still underused among many patient populations. Furthermore, racial and socioeconomic disparities in its delivery have persisted or widened. Additional effort is necessary to broaden the use of breast reconstruction and to ensure equitable access to it.