Comorbidity Management in Black Women Diagnosed with Breast Cancer: the Role of Primary Care in Shared Care

Michelle Doose, Michael B. Steinberg, Cathleen Y. Xing, Yong Lin, Joel C. Cantor, Chi Chen Hong, Kitaw Demissie, Elisa V. Bandera, Jennifer Tsui

Publication Date: 09/09/2021

Background: Black women are more likely to have comorbidity at breast cancer diagnosis compared with White women, which may account for half of the Black-White survivor disparity. Comprehensive disease management requires a coordinated team of healthcare professionals including primary care practitioners, but few studies have examined shared care in the management of comorbidities during cancer care, especially among racial/ethnic minorities. Objective: To examine whether the type of medical team composition is associated with optimal clinical care management of comorbidities. Design: We used the Women’s Circle of Health Follow-up Study, a population-based cohort of Black women diagnosed with breast cancer. The likelihood of receiving optimal comorbidity management after breast cancer diagnosis was compared by type of medical team composition (shared care versus cancer specialists only) using binomial regression. Participants: Black women with a co-diagnosis of diabetes and/or hypertension at breast cancer diagnosis between 2012 and 2016 (N = 274). Main Measures: Outcome—optimal clinical care management of diabetes (i.e., A1C test, LDL-C test, and medical attention for nephropathy) and hypertension (i.e., lipid screening and prescription for hypertension medication). Main predictor—shared care, whether the patient received care from both a cancer specialist and a primary care provider and/or a medical specialist within the 12 months following a breast cancer diagnosis. Key Results: Primary care providers were the main providers involved in managing comorbidities and 90% of patients received shared care during breast cancer care. Only 54% had optimal comorbidity management. Patients with shared care were five times (aRR: 4.62; 95% CI: 1.66, 12.84) more likely to have optimal comorbidity management compared with patients who only saw cancer specialists. Conclusions: Suboptimal management of comorbidities during breast cancer care exists for Black women. However, our findings suggest that shared care is more beneficial at achieving optimal clinical care management for diabetes and hypertension than cancer specialists alone.