The goal of the study was to look at how many women had the reconstruction, why some decided against it, and whether they were satisfied with their decision.
Most women undergoing mastectomy for breast cancer do not undergo breast reconstruction.
To examine correlates of breast reconstruction after mastectomy and to determine if a significant unmet need for reconstruction exists.
Design, Setting, and Participants
We used Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results registries from Los Angeles, California, and Detroit, Michigan, for rapid case ascertainment to identify a sample of women aged 20 to 79 years diagnosed as having ductal carcinoma in situ or stages I to III invasive breast cancer. Black and Latina women were oversampled to ensure adequate representation of racial/ethnic minorities. Eligible participants were able to complete a survey in English or Spanish. Of 3252 women sent the initial survey a median of 9 months after diagnosis, 2290 completed it. Those who remained disease free were surveyed 4 years later to determine the frequency of immediate and delayed reconstruction and patient attitudes toward the procedure; 1536 completed the follow-up survey. The 485 who remained disease free at follow-up underwent analysis.
Disease-free survival of breast cancer.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Breast reconstruction at any time after mastectomy and patient satisfaction with different aspects of the reconstruction decision-making process.
Response rates in the initial and follow-up surveys were 73.1% and 67.7%, respectively (overall, 49.4%). Of 485 patients reporting mastectomy at the initial survey and remaining disease free, 24.8% underwent immediate and 16.8% underwent delayed reconstruction (total, 41.6%). Factors significantly associated with not undergoing reconstruction were black race (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 2.16 [95% CI, 1.11-4.20]; P = .004), lower educational level (AOR, 4.49 [95% CI, 2.31-8.72]; P < .001), increased age (AOR in 10-year increments, 2.53 [95% CI, 1.77-3.61]; P < .001), major comorbidity (AOR, 2.27 [95% CI, 1.01-5.11]; P = .048), and chemotherapy (AOR, 1.82 [95% CI, 0.99-3.31]; P = .05). Only 13.3% of women were dissatisfied with the reconstruction decision-making process, but dissatisfaction was higher among nonwhite patients in the sample (AOR, 2.87 [95% CI, 1.27-6.51]; P = .03). The most common patient-reported reasons for not having reconstruction were the desire to avoid additional surgery (48.5%) and the belief that it was not important (33.8%), but 36.3% expressed fear of implants. Reasons for avoiding reconstruction and systems barriers to care varied by race; barriers were more common among nonwhite participants. Residual demand for reconstruction at 4 years was low, with only 30 of 263 who did not undergo reconstruction still considering the procedure.
Conclusions and Relevance
Reconstruction rates largely reflect patient demand; most patients are satisfied with the decision-making process about reconstruction. Specific approaches are needed to address lingering patient-level and system factors with a negative effect on reconstruction among minority women.