Provider tries same-day biopsy program to reduce breast treatment disparities: 3 takeaways

Past studies have well-established disparities in breast cancer care, with minority women often waiting longer to receive their biopsy than white counterparts, delaying much-needed treatment.

Wanting to address this issue, Massachusetts General Hospital recently tested the use of same-day biopsies to reduce this care gap. They’ve found success so far, decreasing median time from diagnostic exam to biopsy from eight days to zero. Those who were nonwhite and on Medicare typically waited longer to receive that crucial biopsy at the Boston-based institution in the past. But same-day testing appears to have eliminated that disparity, according to their study, published in November’s Journal of the American College of Radiology.

“Our findings not only support established racial/ethnic disparities in breast cancer diagnosis and treatment but also support that access-enhancing interventions are effective,” concluded Brian Dontchos, MD, with Mass General’s Department of Radiology, and colleagues.

All told, 663 patients underwent a biopsy at the hospital prior to implementing the same-day program, and 482 afterward, with similar patient subgroups before and after. They noted some limitations on the findings, including that it was only tested at a single institution, with a patient population that’s 78% white and 91% English-speaking. It also did not measure income, education or patient proximity to the clinic. However, Dontchos and colleagues urge others to test out such an offering.

They offer three key take-home points for radiology business leaders:

  • Racial, ethnic, insurance and age disparities do, in fact, exist in the time that passes from breast biopsy recommendation to performance, and in the proportion of women who receive same-day breast biopsies.
  • No evidence of those disparities persisted after implementing a same-day biopsy program.
  • Doing so is encouraged across the country, they said, to help eliminate wait time and diagnostic disparities, and optimize the equity of breast cancer care.