UF Team Awarded Grant to Study Healthcare Disparities for Patients of Color with Metastatic Breast Cancer

Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation awards grant to Dr. Julie BradleyA UF team led by Associate Professor Julie Bradley, MD has been awarded $147,573 by Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation, to study inequities in the delivery of care and outcomes for patients of color with metastatic breast cancer.

Entitled “Equitable Care of Metastatic Breast Cancer (mBC) Patients: A Phased Approach to Understanding and Addressing Healthcare Disparities for People of Color,” the grant will identify disparities in the availability, delivery, and receipt of palliative and supportive oncology services among patients with metastatic breast cancer in Florida. The outcomes may also be relevant to all US patients with breast cancer.

Palliative care provides significant benefits for patients with advanced cancer diagnoses – including physical, emotional, and psychosocial support – and has a positive impact on short-term quality of life. While therapeutic research to prolong survival is critical, there is simultaneously a need to examine the delivery of palliative care for patients with metastatic breast cancer.

A recent retrospective study revealed that approximately 33% of patients with metastatic breast cancer died without a hospice referral, and only 7% had a documented discussion of palliative care. Patients with a longer duration of metastatic disease were at risk for late referral.

The most concerning trends are the racial disparities in cancer outcomes that exist for patients of color with metastatic breast cancer. While five-year relative survival rates have improved overall from 75% to 90% for all female patients with breast cancer, Black patients have historically had worse survival outcomes than White patients. Between 2010-2016, the survival rate for Black patients was 82% compared to 91% for White patients.

Notably, this disparity exists for patients with metastatic breast cancer, as Black patients have an estimated five-year survival of 26% compared to 35% to 40% for patients of all other races/ethnicities.

Dr. Bradley and her team, which includes UF Radiation Oncology co-investigators Assistant Professor Oluwadamilola T. Oladeru (Lola), MD, MA, MBA and resident Fantine Giap, MD, as well as Young-Rock Hong, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Health Services Research, Management and Policy, will collaborate with Ms. Jasmine Souers, a highly respected advocate for breast cancer survivors and patients across Florida and beyond.

Ms. Souers, an African American breast cancer survivor, is the co-founder of For the Breast of Us, the first inclusive breast cancer community for all women of color. Through her patient focus groups, she has noted and shared the concerning trend in low utilization, high stigma, and misconception surrounding palliative and supportive care in the African American community.


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