JAMA Oncol. 2022 Jun 23. doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2022.1990. Online ahead of print.
IMPORTANCE: Diagnostic delays in breast cancer detection may be associated with later-stage disease and higher anxiety, but data on multilevel factors associated with diagnostic delay are limited.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate individual-, neighborhood-, and health care-level factors associated with differences in time from abnormal screening to biopsy among racial and ethnic groups.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This prospective cohort study used data from women aged 40 to 79 years who had abnormal results in screening mammograms conducted in 109 imaging facilities across 6 US states between 2009 and 2019. Data were analyzed from February 21 to November 4, 2021.
EXPOSURES: Individual-level factors included self-reported race and ethnicity, age, family history of breast cancer, breast density, previous breast biopsy, and time since last mammogram; neighborhood-level factors included geocoded education and income based on residential zip codes and rurality; and health care-level factors included mammogram modality, screening facility academic affiliation, and facility onsite biopsy service availability. Data were also assessed by examination year.
MAIN OUTCOME AND MEASURES: The main outcome was unadjusted and adjusted relative risk (RR) of no biopsy within 30, 60, and 90 days using sequential log-binomial regression models. A secondary outcome was unadjusted and adjusted median time to biopsy using accelerated failure time models.
RESULTS: A total of 45 186 women (median [IQR] age at screening, 56 [48-65] years) with 46 185 screening mammograms with abnormal results were included. Of screening mammograms with abnormal results recommended for biopsy, 15 969 (34.6%) were not resolved within 30 days, 7493 (16.2%) were not resolved within 60 days, and 5634 (12.2%) were not resolved within 90 days. Compared with White women, there was increased risk of no biopsy within 30 and 60 days for Asian (30 days: RR, 1.66; 95% CI, 1.31-2.10; 60 days: RR, 1.58; 95% CI, 1.15-2.18), Black (30 days: RR, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.30-1.78; 60 days: 1.39; 95% CI, 1.22-1.60), and Hispanic (30 days: RR, 1.50; 95% CI, 1.24-1.81; 60 days: 1.38; 95% CI, 1.11-1.71) women; however, the unadjusted risk of no biopsy within 90 days only persisted significantly for Black women (RR, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.11-1.47). Sequential adjustment for selected individual-, neighborhood-, and health care-level factors, exclusive of screening facility, did not substantially change the risk of no biopsy within 90 days for Black women (RR, 1.27; 95% CI, 1.12-1.44). After additionally adjusting for screening facility, the increased risk for Black women persisted but showed a modest decrease (RR, 1.20; 95% CI, 1.08-1.34).
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In this cohort study involving a diverse cohort of US women recommended for biopsy after abnormal results on screening mammography, Black women were the most likely to experience delays to diagnostic resolution after adjusting for multilevel factors. These results suggest that adjustment for multilevel factors did not entirely account for differences in time to breast biopsy, but unmeasured factors, such as systemic racism and other health care system factors, may impact timely diagnosis.