Louisiana Biomedical Research Network

Urska Cvek

Link to Pubmed Publications

Louisiana State University Shreveport

Project Title

Disparities in Breast Cancer Treatment Outcomes: Improving Access with Health Informatics


Terry C. Lairmore, Louisiana State University Health Shreveport

Funding Periods

Translational (May 1, 2021 - April 30, 2022)

ORWH Maternal Health (August 1, 2020 – April 30, 2021)

Translational (May 1, 2019 - August 18, 2020)


Disparity in cancer treatment and outcomes due to geographic and socioeconomic variables is an increasingly recognized problem. Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed among US women (excluding skin cancers) and is the second leading cause of cancer death among women after lung cancer. Besides the District of Columbia, Louisiana ranks first in breast cancer mortality according to the latest trend statistics from American Cancer Society. Breast conservation surgery with radiation therapy was established as the recommended standard of care with equally effective survival rates (NIH, 1990 consensus statement) and thus national mastectomy rates fell steadily through 2006. Spikes in mastectomies were onset by the "Angelina Jolie Effect", after the actress underwent a double mastectomy for the BRCA1 mutation without a cancer diagnosis. Disparities in breast cancer mortality are complex and originate from a multitude of factors, including greater incidence of more aggressive subtypes, later stages at diagnosis, higher levels of comorbidities as well as inequality in treatment, access to care and adherence. Cancer outcomes are determined not only by innate molecular biology of the tumor, but also by potentially modifiable variables including socioeconomic factors, racial differences, and geographical distance from treatment center. This project will allow us to identify these variations and implement targeted strategies to increase measurable outcome health equity (i.e. incidence, stage at diagnosis, and survival).