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Low-Income Breast Cancer Patients Often Forgo Therapy

-- Rick Ansorge

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

TUESDAY, May 19 (HealthDay News) -- In low-income, insured women with breast cancer, the use of adjuvant hormonal therapy is low, according to a study published online May 18 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Gretchen Kimmick, M.D., of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and colleagues analyzed a North Carolina Cancer Registry-Medicaid linked data set on 1,491 women who were diagnosed between 1998 and 2002 with hormone receptor-positive or unknown, nonmetastatic breast cancer.

The researchers found that only 64 percent of the women filled a prescription for adjuvant hormonal therapy within one year of diagnosis. They also found that adherence (medication possession ratio) and persistence (absence of a 90-day gap in prescription fills over 12 months) were 60 percent and 80 percent, respectively.

"Given its impressive therapeutic efficacy and low toxicity relative to adjuvant chemotherapy, consensus guidelines recommend that adjuvant hormonal therapy be offered to women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer," the authors write. "We propose that improving use of adjuvant hormonal therapy will improve breast cancer outcome in low-income and underserved populations."

This study was partially supported by AstraZeneca; several authors reported financial relationships with AstraZeneca.

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Specialties Cardiology
Diabetes & Endocrinology
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

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