New Haven, Conn.– Older women residing in the U.S territories are less likely to receive recommended or timely care for breast cancer compared with similar women residing in the continental United States, according to Yale researchers. Their findings were published in the March issue of Health Affairs.
Using Medicare claims data from 2008 to 2014, the researchers analyzed breast cancer care for women in the U.S. territories, including American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Compared to women living in the continental United States (defined as 48 contiguous states, Alaska, and the District of Columbia), women in these territories who had surgical treatment for breast cancer were significantly less likely to receive other recommended care, the researchers said.
In the period preceding surgery, women in the territories had 24% lower odds of receiving diagnostic needle biopsy. Following breast conserving surgery, they were less likely to receive radiation therapy, noted the researchers.
These women also experienced significant delays in receiving timely care. For example, one month after diagnosis, 42% of women in the U.S. territories had breast surgery, compared to 63% of women in the continental United States. For women in the territories who
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