TORONTO, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Few breast cancer patients in Canada get breast reconstruction after mastectomy, despite its safety and its psychological benefits, researchers say.
Dr. Toni Zhong of the University Health Network, University of Toronto, and colleagues said the breast reconstruction rate in Canada has historically been low, with a 7.7 percent in Ontario for 1994/1995 and 3.8 percent in Nova Scotia from 1991. Rates were higher in Australia at 9.9 percent 1982, 14 percent in Denmark in1999 and 16.5 percent in England in 2006.
In the United States, rates for breast reconstruction have increased from as low as 3.4 percent in 1985 to a high of 42 percent from 1997 in a network of tertiary cancer centers, the researchers said.
The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found older age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and geography affect the use of breast reconstruction. Women older than 50 are less likely than others to undergo reconstruction, while women of lower socioeconomic status were less likely to have reconstruction, the study said.
Women living in large urban centers were more likely to undergo breast reconstruction and other modifiable barriers to breast reconstruction in Canada include knowledge gaps and misperceptions held by referring physicians, the study said.