Disparities in Breast-Conserving Therapy for Non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native Women Compared with Non-Hispanic White Women

Jennifer Erdrich, Felina Cordova-Marks, Angela R. Monetathchi, Manxia Wu, Arica White, Stephanie Melkonian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Little is known about the surgical patterns of American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) breast cancer patients. The purpose of this study is to determine whether there are disparities in breast cancer surgery and radiation therapy between non-Hispanic AI/AN (NH-AI/AN) women and non-Hispanic White (NHW) women. Methods: Data from the National Program of Cancer Registries of the Centers for Disease Control and Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results were used for this cross-sectional study. Female patients with invasive breast cancer diagnosed 2010–2015 were stratified by race/ethnicity, surgical procedure, radiation, and region. Percentage distributions of mastectomy and lumpectomy were compared overall and by region and stage. Results: From 2010 to 2015 there were 3292 NH-AI/AN women and 165,225 NHW women diagnosed with breast cancer. For early stage (AJCC stage 1 and 2), NH-AI/AN women had overall significantly higher percentage of mastectomy (41% vs 34.4%, p < 0.001) and significantly lower percentage of lumpectomy (59% vs 65.6%) compared with NHW women, without significant differences in post-lumpectomy radiation (71% vs 70%). There were regional variations, notably in the Northern Plains, where the percentage of mastectomy for early-stage disease was 48.9% for NH-AI/AN women versus 35.9% for NHW women, and in Alaska with 47% for NH-AI/AN women versus 33.3% for NHW women (p < 0.001). There were no overall significant differences in type of surgery or radiation for late-stage disease between groups. Conclusion: This is the first study to show disparities in surgical management of NH-AI/AN women with breast cancer. For early-stage disease, NH-AI/AN women undergo a higher percentage of mastectomy. Future clinical directions could focus on the factors that drive awareness, decision-making, and access to breast conservation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1019-1030
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals of Surgical Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology


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