Journal Articles

Publication Date



Breast Cancer Research and Treatment


PURPOSE: Although surgical resection is the main modality of treatment for breast cancer, some patients elect to refuse the recommended surgery. We assessed racial and ethnic differences in women 40 years and older who received or refused to receive surgical treatment for breast cancer in the USA and whether racial disparities in mortality were affected by their differences in the prevalence of refusal for surgical treatment.

METHODS: We studied 277,127 women with breast cancer using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) data and performed multivariable logistic regressions to investigate the association between surgery status of breast cancer and race/ethnicity. Additionally, we performed Cox regression analyses to determine the predictors of mortality outcomes.

RESULTS: Of 277,127 patients with breast cancer, 1468 (0.53%) refused to receive the recommended surgical treatment in our cohort. Non-Hispanic Black women were 112% more likely to refuse the recommended surgical treatment for breast cancer compared to their non-Hispanic White counterparts [adjusted odds ratio: 2.12, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.82-2.47]. Women who underwent breast-conserving surgery [hazards ratio (HR) 0.15, 95% CI 0.13-0.16] and mastectomy (HR 0.21, 95% CI 0.18-0.23) had lower hazard ratios of mortality as compared to women who refused the recommended treatment after adjusting for covariates.

CONCLUSION: Race/ethnicity was associated with refusal for the recommended surgery, especially among non-Hispanic Black women. Also, surgery refusal was associated with a higher risk of all-cause and breast cancer-related mortality. These disparities stress the need to tailor interventions aimed at raising awareness of the importance of following physician recommendations among minorities.


Black People, Breast Neoplasms, Ethnicity, Female, Healthcare Disparities, Humans, Mastectomy, Mastectomy, Segmental, SEER Program, United States



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