Time to definitive diagnosis of breast cancer in Latina and non-Hispanic white women: The six cities study

Amelie G. Ramirez, Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable, Gregory A. Talavera, Frank J. Penedo, J. Emilio Carrillo, Maria E. Fernandez, Edgar Muñoz, Dorothy Long Parma, Alan E.C. Holden, Sandra San Miguel de Majors, Anna Nápoles, Sheila F. Castañeda, Kipling J. Gallion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Time delay after an abnormal screening mammogram may have a critical impact on tumor size, stage at diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, and survival of subsequent breast cancer. This study was undertaken to evaluate disparities between Latina and non-Hispanic white (NHW) women in time to definitive diagnosis of breast cancer after an abnormal screening mammogram, as well as factors contributing to such disparities. As part of the activities of the National Cancer Institute (NCI)-funded Redes En Acción research network, clinical records of 186 Latinas and 74 NHWs who received abnormal screening mammogram results were reviewed to determine the time to obtain a definitive diagnosis. Data was obtained from participating clinics in six U.S. cities and included demographics, clinical history, and mammogram characteristics. Kaplan-Meier estimates and Cox proportional hazards models were used to test differences in median time to definitive diagnosis by ethnicity after adjusting for clinic site, demographics, and clinical characteristics. Time-to-event analysis showed that Latinas took 2.2 times longer to reach 50% definitively diagnosed with breast cancer relative to NHWs, and three times longer to reach 80% diagnosed (p=0.001). Latinas' median time to definitive diagnosis was 60 days compared to 27 for NHWs, a 59% gap in diagnosis rates (adjusted Hazard Ratio [aHR] = 1.59, 95% CI = 1.09, 2.31; p=0.015). BI-RADS-4/5 women's diagnosis rate was more than twice that of BIRADS- 3 (aHR = 2.11, 95% CI = 1.18, 3.78; p=0.011). Disparities in time between receipt of abnormal screening result and definitive diagnosis adversely affect Latinas compared to NHWs, and remain significant after adjusting for demographic and clinical variables. With cancer now the leading cause of mortality among Latinos, a greater need exists for ethnically and culturally appropriate interventions like patient navigation to facilitate Latinas' successful entry into, and progression through, the cancer care system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number84
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013


  • Breast cancer screening
  • Definitive diagnosis
  • Health disparities
  • Latinas
  • Six cities study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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