Reducing Underuse of Early-Stage Breast Cancer Treatment in Minority Communities

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Mount Sinai Health System




Breast Cancer


Behavioral: Improving the Delivery of Effective Care to Minorities

Study type


Funder types



5P01HS010859-05 (U.S. AHRQ Grant/Contract)
GCO 00-0053

Details and patient eligibility


The purpose of this study is to determine if a physician-centered intervention will help women with early stage breast cancer receive appropriate treatment.

Full description

Efficacious adjuvant treatments such as radiotherapy following breast conserving surgery, and chemo- or hormonal therapy for stage 1b or 2 breast cancer improve disease-free and overall survival. Lower rates of radiotherapy following breast-conserving surgery have been reported among black women. Few data exist about racial disparities in receipt of chemo- or hormonal therapies; however, poorer stage-specific survival rates among blacks and among women with poor or no insurance suggest underuse of these treatments. Despite elimination of racial disparities in rates of mammography screening, the full benefit of screening will not be realized unless underuse of effective treatments for early-stage breast cancer is eliminated. Little is known about reasons for underuse of these treatments or ways to increase treatment rates. Our preliminary work suggests omitted referrals and lack of follow-up tracking account for a majority of underuse particularly among minority patients. The proposed breast cancer project will measure the extent of underuse of efficacious breast cancer treatments among patients of the hospitals serving East and Central Harlem and other minority communities in lower Manhattan. We will first interview physicians and patients about their reasons for omission of efficacious adjuvant treatments. At the 6 participating hospitals, we will then implement an intervention consisting of: a) computerized reminders to prompt surgeons to refer patients for adjuvant treatment, and b) an individual to track referrals for and receipt of adjuvant treatments. We will assess racial/ethnic differences in rates of underuse and explore racial differences in reasons for underuse. We will assess the impact of the intervention on reducing underuse of efficacious therapies among 2 years of 695 pre-intervention and 2 years of 695 post-intervention patients. This study will provide new knowledge about racial disparities in treatment for early-stage breast cancer; patient and physician reasons for underuse; and the effectiveness of a simple, sustainable intervention to improve rates of efficacious adjuvant treatments.


1,164 patients




18+ years old


No Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

  • All patients, who are English or Spanish speaking, with a new primary stage 1 or 2 breast cancer who have undergone either breast conserving surgery or mastectomy and those with tumors > 1 cm or < 1 cm and poorly differentiated
  • All surgeons performing breast surgery at the participating hospitals

Exclusion criteria

Patients with dementia or those with a poor prognosis due to end-stage organ failure or other concomitant conditions such as those undergoing treatment for other cancers

Trial design

1,164 participants in 1 patient group

Improving the Delivery of Effective Care to Minorities
Experimental group
Behavioral: Improving the Delivery of Effective Care to Minorities

Trial contacts and locations



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