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Prospective Study: Factors that Contribute to the Diagnosis of Late-Stage Breast Cancer in Underserved Women in the St. Louis Area

2008–2011


Overview

A prior study noted that about 40 percent of underserved women diagnosed with breast cancer in the St. Louis area present with late-stage cancer. Because late-stage diagnosis is associated with poorer survival, the eventual care received does not reduce the disparity in breast cancer burden and death. Therefore, it is critical to understand and address factors on multiple levels that might contribute to late-stage breast cancer diagnosis.


Purpose

By documenting and exploring the experience of women in St. Louis-area health systems, this study seeks to obtain a better understanding of what factors – at the level of both individuals and institutions – are perpetuating disparities. It attempts to identify behavioral, institutional, medical and socioeconomic factors that might contribute to the diagnosis of late-stage breast cancer in medically underserved women. This study compares the experiences of:

  1. Underserved patients diagnosed with early-stage (stage I and II) breast cancer to nonunderserved patients diagnosed with late-stage (stage III and IV) breast cancer
  2. Underserved patients diagnosed with early-stage (stage I and II) breast cancer to nonunderserved patients with early-stage (stage I and II) breast cancer
  3. Underserved patients diagnosed with late-stage (stage III and IV) breast cancer to nonunderserved patients with late-stage (stage III and IV) breast cancer

Results will guide the development of future interventions to reduce late-stage breast cancer diagnosis and treatment among medically underserved women.


Outcomes and Next Steps

In progress; anticipated in 2011.


Funding

Harrah’s funding awarded to PECaD


Project Staff

Julie Margenthaler, MD (Primary Investigator, Washington University)
Donna Jeffe, PhD (Co-Investigator, Washington University)
Deborah Ksiazek (Research Coordinator, Washington University)
Irene Fischer (Research Coordinator, Washington University)
Oluwadamilola Fayanju (Surgery Resident, Washington University)


Contact Information

Julie Margenthaler, MD
Phone: 314-362-7534 
E-mail: margenthaler@WUSTL.EDU