To monitor and address disparity in accrual, patient participation in cancer clinical trials is routinely summarized by race/ethnicity. To investigate whether confounding obscures racial/ethnic disparity in participation, all women with breast cancer treated by medical oncologists at City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center from 2004 through 2009 were classified by birthplace and self-reported race/ethnicity, and followed for accrual onto therapeutic trials through 2010. Undetectable on univariate analysis, significantly reduced participation by subjects of African, Asian, Eastern European, Latin American, and Middle Eastern ancestries was revealed after accounting for age, socioeconomic factors, tumor and oncologist characteristics, and intrapractice clustering of patients.
Carolyn E. Behrendt, Arti Hurria, Lusine Tumyan, Joyce C. Niland, and Joanne E. Mortimer
Christopher P. Chung, Carolyn Behrendt, Louise Wong, Sarah Flores, and Joanne E. Mortimer
Background: Among breast cancer survivors, urinary incontinence (UI) is often attributed to cancer therapy. We prospectively assessed urinary symptoms before and after (neo)adjuvant treatment of early-stage breast cancer. Methods: With consent, women with stage I–III breast cancer completed the Urogenital Distress Inventory and the Incontinence Impact Questionnaire before and 3 months after initiating (neo)adjuvant therapy. Patients with UI were at least slightly bothered by urinary symptoms. If UI was present pretreatment, it was considered prevalent; if UI was new or worse at 3 months posttreatment, it was considered incident; if prevalent UI was no worse at 3 months posttreatment, it was considered stable. Ordinal logistic regression models identified characteristics associated with the level of prevalent UI and with the degree of UI impact on quality of life (QoL). Results: On pretreatment surveys, participants (N=203; age 54.5 ± 11.4 years) reported 79.8% prevalence of UI, including overactive bladder (29.1%), stress incontinence (10.8%), or both (39.9%). The level of prevalent UI increased with body mass index (BMI; P<.05). Of 163 participants assessed at both time points, incident UI developed in 12 of 32 patients without prevalent UI and 27 of 131 patients with prevalent UI. Regardless of whether UI was prevalent (n=162), incident (n=39), or stable (n=94) at QoL assessment, the impact of UI increased (P<.01) with the number and severity of UI symptoms, subjective urinary retention, and BMI. Adjusted for those characteristics, incident UI had less impact on QoL (P<.05) than did prevalent or stable UI. Conclusions: We found that UI is highly prevalent at breast cancer diagnosis and that new or worsened UI is common after (neo)adjuvant therapy. Because UI often impairs QoL, appropriate treatment strategies are needed.
Joanne E. Mortimer, Andrea M. Barsevick, Charles L. Bennett, Ann M. Berger, Charles Cleeland, Shannon R. DeVader, Carmen Escalante, Jeffrey Gilreath, Arti Hurria, Tito R. Mendoza, and Hope S. Rugo
NCCN convened a committee of experts to make recommendations for future studies of cancer-related fatigue (CRF). The committee reviewed the current data on the incidence, clinical measurement, and treatment of CRF. The assessment of fatigue is largely derived from self-report questionnaires that address the symptom of fatigue, and do not correlate the presence of fatigue with change in physical activity. The committee developed a self-report questionnaire, NCCN Fatigue and Contributing Factors Inventory, which incorporates assessments of fatigue, pain, difficulty sleeping, distress, physical activity, and concurrent medications. A clinical research study using this measure in conjunction with the NCCN Breast Cancer Outcomes Database Project is planned. The committee noted a strong interaction among fatigue, pain, difficulty sleeping, and distress and recommended that future clinical research address these interactions.
Laura Bourdeanu, Thehang Luu, Norma Baker, Suzanne Swain-Cabriales, Cathie T. Chung, Joanne Mortimer, Arti Hurria, Sandra Helton, David Smith, Betty Ferrell, Gloria Juarez, and George Somlo
Delays between presentation and treatment could have a significant effect on breast cancer mortality. The authors hypothesized that patient, physician, and system barriers are all responsible for treatment delays. Therefore, a study was conducted to define prevalent barriers to treatment from the patient’s perspective. A modified 43-item Likert-scale questionnaire was administered to patients with clinical stage III locally advanced breast cancer (LABC) who had experienced a delay in treatment of 3 months or more. Between October 2008 and January 2010, 153 patients presented with LABC; 43 patients (28.1%) met eligibility, and 40 completed the questionnaire. Among the patient barriers reported, 38% of patients delayed care for fear of losing their breast and 47% awaited previously scheduled routine appointments instead of seeking care. Among the physician barriers reported, 20% of physicians of initial contact did not believe the breast lump/symptom was related to cancer and 15% did not believe it needed a biopsy. Among the system barriers reported, the most prevalent were delays in performing diagnostic tests and obtaining insurance authorization for tests, treatment, or physician visits. Substantial delays were seen in 28.1% of patients from presentation to when they sought therapy at City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center. The high prevalence of patient barriers versus physician/system barriers suggests that increased educational efforts for patients and health care professionals are needed.