Data compiled from the National Cancer Database of the American College of Surgeons and the American Cancer Society of 396,434 mastectomy patients has shown that more women than ever are undergoing immediate or early breast reconstruction.
Twenty-three percent of women in 2007 elected to have immediate or early reconstructive surgery, nearly doubling from just twelve percent in 1998. While these results suggest that more women have access to breast reconstruction surgery, data also indicates that access barriers still persist for women who are post mastectomy.
Patients Face Racial, Socioeconomic and Geographic Barriers
While research did show that the rate of immediate or early reconstructive surgery has been growing, growth trends were not equal across all subgroups of women.
According to the data, the most likely recipients of immediate or early breast reconstruction from 1998 to 2007 were non-African American women under the age of 50 who either lived in a large metropolitan area, were cared for by an academic affiliated medical institution or earned a higher than average household income.
The disparity measured among differing racial, socioeconomic and geographic groups was statistically significant and the gap did not appear to be narrowing over time.
Breast reconstruction surgery has become available to more women than ever before, but despite this overall increase in utilization, the fact still remains that the medical industry is not doing enough to increase awareness, education and accessibility for immediate or early breast reconstruction for women across all socioeconomic, racial and geographic groups. Continued efforts by medical professionals are essential to progress.