This article was originally published here
Ann Surg Oncol. 2021 Jul 21. doi: 10.1245/s10434-021-10487-z. Online ahead of print.
For many women, breast reconstruction is an essential component of the breast cancer care continuum after mastectomy. Despite postmastectomy breast reconstruction now being a standard of care, numerous studies over the past decade have documented persistent racial disparities in breast reconstruction rates, physician referral patterns, and patient knowledge of their reconstructive options. These disparities have disproportionately impacted women of color-most specifically, African American women. Recent data have revealed racial differences in patient comorbidities, informed decision-making satisfaction, and clinical outcomes after breast reconstruction. Explicitly, African American women have significantly more risk factors for complications and less baseline knowledge regarding reconstructive options than white women. With a recent heightened attention focused on social determinants of health, studies designed to improve these racial differences have demonstrated promising results through educational outreach to underserved communities, implementation of tailored legislation promoting inclusion, diversity, and equity, and encouragement of additional recruitment of ethnically underrepresented-in-medicine surgeons. This study uses a targeted review of the literature to provide a summary of racial disparities in breast reconstruction for African American women, with our perspective on opportunities for improvement.