Differential access to quality care is associated with racial disparities in ovarian cancer survival. Few studies have examined the association of multiple healthcare access (HCA) dimensions with racial disparities in quality treatment metrics, that is, primary debulking surgery performed by a gynecologic oncologist and initiation of guideline-recommended systemic therapy.
We analyzed data for patients with ovarian cancer diagnosed from 2008 to 2015 in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results–Medicare database. We defined HCA dimensions as affordability, availability, and accessibility. Modified Poisson regressions with sandwich error estimation were used to estimate the relative risk (RR) for quality treatment.
The study cohort was 7% NH-Black, 6% Hispanic, and 87% NH-White. Overall, 29% of patients received surgery and 68% initiated systemic therapy. After adjusting for clinical variables, NH-Black patients were less likely to receive surgery [RR, 0.83; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.70–0.98]; the observed association was attenuated after adjusting for healthcare affordability, accessibility, and availability (RR, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.77–1.08). Dual enrollment in Medicaid and Medicare compared with Medicare only was associated with lower likelihood of receiving surgery (RR, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.76–0.97) and systemic therapy (RR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.92–0.97). Receiving treatment at a facility in the highest quartile of ovarian cancer surgical volume was associated with higher likelihood of surgery (RR, 1.12; 95% CI, 1.04–1.21).
Racial differences were observed in ovarian cancer treatment quality and were partly explained by multiple HCA dimensions.
Strategies to mitigate racial disparities in ovarian cancer treatment quality must focus on multiple HCA dimensions. Additional dimensions, acceptability and accommodation, may also be key to addressing disparities.