Overcoming disparities: Multidisciplinary breast cancer care at a public safety net hospital

Kristin N. Kelly, Alexandra Hernandez, Sina Yadegarynia, Emily Ryon, Dido Franceschi, Eli Avisar, Erin N. Kobetz, Nipun Merchant, Susan Kesmodel, Neha Goel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Public safety net hospitals (SNH) serve a disparate patient population; however, little is known about long-term oncologic outcomes of patients receiving care at these facilities. This study is the first to examine overall survival (OS) and the initiation of treatment in breast cancer patients treated at a SNH. Methods: Patients presenting to a SNH with stage I-IV breast cancer from 2005 to 2017 were identified from the local tumor registry. The hospital has a weekly breast tumor board and a multidisciplinary approach to breast cancer care. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was performed to identify patient, tumor, and treatment characteristics associated with OS. Factors with a p < 0.1 were included in the Cox proportional hazards model. Results: 2709 breast cancer patients were evaluated from 2005 to 2017. The patient demographics, tumor characteristics, and treatments received were analyzed. Five-year OS was 78.4% (93.9%, 87.4%, 70.9%, and 23.5% for stages I, II, III, and IV, respectively). On multivariable analysis, higher stage, age > 70 years, higher grade, and non-Hispanic ethnicity were associated with worse OS. Patients receiving surgery (HR = 0.33, p < 0.0001), chemotherapy (HR = 0.71, p = 0.006), and endocrine therapy (HR = 0.61, p < 0.0001) had better OS compared to those who did not receive these treatments. Conclusion: Despite serving a vulnerable minority population that is largely poor, uninsured, and presenting with more advanced disease, OS at our SNH approaches national averages. This novel finding indicates that in the setting of multidisciplinary cancer care and with appropriate initiation of treatment, SNHs can overcome socioeconomic barriers to achieve equitable outcomes in breast cancer care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-206
Number of pages10
JournalBreast cancer research and treatment
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Breast cancer
  • Disparities
  • Multidisciplinary care
  • Safety net hospitals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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