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Dr Obeng-Gyasi on Neighborhood Opportunity and Mortality in Breast Cancer

Samilia Obeng-Gyasi, MD, MPH, discusses a retrospective study on neighborhood opportunity and all-cause mortality in patients with breast cancer.

Samilia Obeng-Gyasi, MD, MPH, surgical oncologist, assistant professor, Division of Surgical Oncology, The Ohio State University (OSU), member, Cancer Control Program, OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center (OSUCC)—James, discusses key takeaways from a retrospective study on the associations between neighborhood opportunity and all-cause mortality in patients with breast cancer.

The study findings revealed a significant association between lower neighborhood opportunity and adverse health outcomes among patients with breast cancer, including higher allostatic load and increased risk of all-cause mortality. These results underscore the impact of environmental and socioeconomic factors on disease progression and patient outcomes. 

Reflecting on these outcomes, health care institutions such as OSUCCC—James are compelled to integrate social determinants of health into routine patient assessments, Obeng-Gyasi begins. This approach underscores the importance of treating patients holistically, recognizing that optimal care extends beyond medical interventions to include understanding patients’ living environments and available resources, she reports. By collecting data on social determinants of health, institutions can identify gaps in patient resources and tailor support services accordingly, Obeng-Gyasi explains.

The implications of this study extend beyond individual institutions, prompting health care providers to adopt a more comprehensive approach to patient care, she states. These findings reinforce the message that patient well-being is influenced by multifaceted factors that extend beyond medical diagnoses and treatments, Obeng-Gyasi expands. By understanding patients’ socioeconomic contexts and the impact of these contexts on disease trajectory and treatment response, providers can deliver more personalized and effective care, according to Obeng-Gyasi. This shift toward holistic patient care is critical for improving outcomes and addressing disparities in cancer care, she notes.

In conclusion, the insights gained from studies such as this one should encourage health care providers to view patient care through a holistic lens, Obeng-Gyasi continues. These findings underscore the importance of understanding the role that patients’ lived experiences and socioenvironmental contexts play in shaping health outcomes, she adds. By embracing a comprehensive approach to care that integrates social determinants of health, health care providers can optimize patient care delivery and ultimately improve long-term outcomes for patients with breast cancer and other complex diseases, Obeng-Gyasi concludes.

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