Go to content

Immigration status and breast cancer surgery quality of care metrics: a population-level analysis


Introduction — As immigrant women face challenges accessing health care, we hypothesized that immigration status would be associated with fewer women with breast cancer receiving surgery for curable disease, fewer undergoing breast conserving surgery (BCS), and longer wait time to surgery.

Methods — A population-level retrospective cohort study, including women aged 18–70 years with Stage I-III breast cancer diagnosed between 2010 and 2016 in Ontario was conducted. Multivariable analysis was performed to assess odds of undergoing surgery, receiving BCS and wait time to surgery.

Results — A total of 31,755 patients were included [26,253 (82.7%) Canadian-born and 5502 (17.3%) immigrant women]. Immigrant women were younger (mean age 51.6 vs. 56.1 years) and less often presented with Stage I/II disease (87.4% vs. 89.8%) (both p < .001). On multivariable analysis, there was no difference between immigrant women and Canadian-born women in odds of undergoing surgery [Stage I OR 0.93 (95% CI 0.79–1.11), Stage II 1.04 (0.89–1.22), Stage III 1.22 (0.94–1.57)], receiving BCS [Stage I 0.93 (0.82–1.05), Stage II 0.96 (0.86–1.07), Stage III 1.00 (0.83–1.22)], or wait time [Stage I 0.45 (−0.61–1.50), Stage II 0.33 (−0.86–1.52), Stage III 3.03 (−0.05–6.12)]. In exploratory analysis, new immigrants did not have surgery more than established immigrants (12.9% vs. 10.1%), and refugee women had longer wait time compared with economic-class immigrants (39.5 vs. 35.3 days).

Conclusions — We observed differences in measures of socioeconomic disadvantage and disease characteristics between immigrant and Canadian-born women with breast cancer. Upon adjusting for these factors, no differences emerged in rate of surgery, rate of BCS, and time to surgery. The lack of disparity suggests barriers to accessing basic components of breast cancer care may be mitigated by the universal healthcare system in Canada.



Parvez E, Bogach J, Kirkwood D, Pond G, Doumouras A, Hodgson N, Levine M. Ann Surg Oncol. 2024; Apr 18 [Epub ahead of print].

View Source

Contributing ICES Scientists

Associated Sites