Racial Disparities in Breast Reconstruction at a Comprehensive Cancer Center

Shahnjayla K. Connors, Melody S. Goodman, Terence Myckatyn, Julie Margenthaler, Sarah Gehlert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Introduction: Breast reconstruction after a mastectomy is an important component of breast cancer care that improves the quality of life in breast cancer survivors. African American women are less likely to receive breast reconstruction than Caucasian women. The purpose of this study was to further investigate the reconstruction disparities we previously reported at a comprehensive cancer center by assessing breast reconstruction rates, patterns, and predictors by race. Methods: Data were obtained from women treated with definitive mastectomy between 2000 and 2012. Sociodemographic, tumor, and treatment characteristics were compared between African American and Caucasian women, and logistic regression was used to identify significant predictors of reconstruction by race. Results: African American women had significantly larger proportions of public insurance, aggressive tumors, unilateral mastectomies, and modified radical mastectomies. African American women had a significantly lower reconstruction rate (35% vs. 49%, p < 0.01) and received a larger proportion of autologous reconstruction (13% vs. 7%, p < 0.01) compared to Caucasian women. The receipt of adjuvant radiation therapy was a significant predictor of breast reconstruction in Caucasian but not African American women. Conclusions: We identified breast reconstruction disparities in rate and type of reconstruction. These disparities may be due to racial differences in sociodemographic, tumor, and treatment characteristics. The predictors of breast reconstruction varied by race, suggesting that the mechanisms underlying breast reconstruction may vary in African American women. Future research should take a target approach to examine the relative contributions of sociodemographic, tumor, and treatment determinants of the breast reconstruction disparities in African American women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2323-2333
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • African American women
  • Breast cancer
  • Breast reconstruction
  • Comprehensive cancer center
  • Disparities


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