Timeliness of Breast Cancer Treatment Within The Alaska Tribal Health System

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Abstract

Purpose

This study examined the time from breast cancer diagnosis to initiation of treatment among Alaska Native (AN) women. We evaluated the impact of age, cancer stage, and rural/urban residence at diagnosis.

Methods

We evaluated characteristics of women recorded in the Alaska Native Tumor Registry who received a first diagnosis of breast cancer between 2009 and 2013. Median time from diagnosis to treatment was assessed. Associations of demographic and clinical characteristics with timely initiation of treatment were evaluated using logistic regression and Cox proportional hazards models.

Results

Two hundred seventy-eight (278) AN women were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in years 2009–2013. Mean age at diagnosis was 56.8 years (SD = 13.0). The median time from diagnosis to initiation of treatment was 23 days (P < .05) with most (94.6%, n = 263) meeting the ≤60-day guideline target. Time to treatment was not associated with rural/urban residence, age, or stage at cancer diagnosis.

Conclusion

These findings indicate that most AN women diagnosed with breast cancer within the AN Tribal Health System receive timely treatment after diagnosis.

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