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Dr. Cai on Disparities in Access to Care in Breast Cancer

Steven Cai, MD, FACS, discusses the ongoing effort to address disparities in breast cancer care, and the importance of improving access to care for underserved patients.

Steven Cai, MD, FACS, medical oncologist, Chinatown General Surgery, assistant clinical professor, Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai, discusses the ongoing effort to address disparities in breast cancer care, and the importance of improving access to care for underserved patients.

At the 40th Annual Miami Breast Cancer Conference®, a key theme from several of the presentations was disparities of care in breast cancer, Cai begins. For example, the conference’s keynote speakers, Lindsay Avner Kaplan and Nancy G. Brinker, both gave inspiring talks. Avner Kaplan shared the story of her family and how she used this background to launch her research for the greater good of many breast cancer patients, which was very impactful, Cai explains. Additionally, Brinker discussed how to reduce the prevalence of health disparities, as well as how the quality of care given by many of the top cancer institutions needs to radiate into smaller practices in underserved communities, Cai adds.

Moreover, Brinker expanded on the importance of having culturally sensitive and compassionate clinicians who may help patients navigate their breast cancer journey, Cai continues. Oftentimes, patients may have a hard time getting through the conversation about the initial diagnosis. Along with the difficulty of grappling with a cancer diagnosis, it can be difficult for some patients access to care, Cai notes. Therefore, it is of importance to encourage both community and research oncologists to have culturally competent advisors who can speak a patient’s language to help guide them and eliminate some of the burden of care from the patient and their family members, Cai concludes.

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