To investigate patient, cancer and treatment characteristics in females with breast cancer from more remote areas of Australia, to better understand reasons for their poorer outcomes, bi-variable and multivariable analyses were undertaken using the National Breast Cancer Audit database of the Society of Breast Surgeons of Australia and New Zealand. Results indicated that patients from more remote areas were more likely to be of lower socio-economic status and be treated in earlier diagnostic epochs and at inner regional and remote rather than major city centres. They were also more likely to be treated by low case load surgeons, although this finding was only of marginal statistical significance in multivariable analysis (p=0.074). Patients from more remote areas were less likely than those from major cities to be treated by breast conserving surgery, as opposed to mastectomy, and less likely to have adjuvant radiotherapy when having breast conserving surgery. They had a higher rate of adjuvant chemotherapy. Further monitoring will be important to determine whether breast conserving surgery and adjuvant radiotherapy utilization increase in rural patients following the introduction of regional cancer centres recently funded to improve service access in these areas.
- Breast cancer
- Geographic remoteness
- Provider and treatment characteristics