In the study, researchers analyzed outcomes of women who began treatment within two weeks of diagnosis and those that delayed and took at least six weeks to commence treatment.
Nearly 22% of women who delayed their treatment for at least six weeks were not alive five years later. 18% of women with no health insurance or who were insured through a public program like MediCal did not begin treatment before six weeks after the diagnosis and 31% of them died within five years. They also found that the five-year survival rate was by far the least for African American women (57%), followed by Latinas (74%), Asian Americans (81%) and whites (86%).
"Surgical delay time was a significant risk factor for reduced survival after breast cancer diagnosis independent of race/ethnicity, cancer state at diagnosis, age, insurance type, and SES. It may be difficult for a physician to make arrangements for surgery because of barriers such as a patient's lack of insurance," researchers said.