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1.  Health-Related Quality of Life of Adolescent and Young Adult Patients With Cancer in the United States: The Adolescent and Young Adult Health Outcomes and Patient Experience Study 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2013;31(17):2136-2145.
Adolescents and young adults (AYAs) diagnosed with cancer face numerous physical, psychosocial, and practical challenges. This article describes the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and associated demographic and health-related characteristics of this developmentally diverse population.
Patients and Methods
Data are from the Adolescent and Young Adult Health Outcomes and Patient Experience (AYA HOPE) study, a population-based cohort of 523 AYA patients with cancer, ages 15 to 39 years at diagnosis from 2007 to 2009. Comparisons are made by age group and with general and healthy populations. Multiple linear regression models evaluated effects of demographic, disease, health care, and symptom variables on multiple domains of HRQOL using the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL) and the Short-Form Health Survey 12 (SF-12).
Overall, respondents reported significantly worse HRQOL across both physical and mental health scales than did general and healthy populations. The greatest deficits were in limitations to physical and emotional roles, physical and social functioning, and fatigue. Teenaged patients (ages 15 to 17 years) reported worse physical and work/school functioning than patients 18 to 25 years old. Regression models showed that HRQOL was worse for those in treatment, with current/recent symptoms, or lacking health insurance at any time since diagnosis. In addition, sarcoma patients, Hispanic patients, and those with high school or lower education reported worse physical health. Unmarried patients reported worse mental health.
Results suggest that AYAs with cancer have major decrements in several physical and mental HRQOL domains. Vulnerable subgroups included Hispanic patients, those with less education, and those without health insurance. AYAs also experienced higher levels of fatigue that were influenced by current symptoms and treatment. Future research should explore ways to address poor functioning in this understudied group.
PMCID: PMC3731979  PMID: 23650427
2.  A Population-Based Observational Study of First-Course Treatment and Survival for Adolescent and Young Adult Females with Breast Cancer 
Young age at breast cancer diagnosis is associated with poor survival. However, little is known about factors associated with first-course treatment receipt or survival among adolescent and young adult (AYA) females aged 15–39 years.
Data regarding 19,906 eligible AYA breast cancers diagnosed in California during 1992–2009 were obtained from the population-based California Cancer Registry. Multivariable logistic regression was used to evaluate clinical and sociodemographic differences in treatment receipt. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression was used to examine differences in survival by initial treatment, and by patient and tumor characteristics.
Black and Hispanic AYAs diagnosed with in situ or stages I–III breast cancer were more likely than White AYAs to receive breast-conserving surgery (BCS) without radiation; Asian and Hispanic AYAs were more likely than Whites to receive mastectomy. Women in lower socioeconomic status (SES) neighborhoods were more likely to omit radiation after BCS, more likely to receive mastectomy, and less likely to receive chemotherapy, compared to those in higher SES neighborhoods. Among patients with invasive disease, survival improved an average of 5% per year during 1992–2009. AYAs who received BCS with radiation experienced better survival than other surgery/radiation options. Black AYAs had poorer survival than Whites. AYAs who resided in higher SES neighborhoods had better survival.
Treatment receipt among AYAs with breast cancer varied by race/ethnicity and neighborhood SES. Poor survival for Black AYAs and AYAs living in low SES neighborhoods in models adjusted for treatment receipt suggests that factors other than treatment may also be important to disease outcome.
PMCID: PMC3779013  PMID: 24066271
breast cancer; treatment; survival; race/ethnicity; socioeconomic status
3.  Impact of Cancer on Work and Education Among Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Survivors 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2012;30(19):2393-2400.
To examine the impact of cancer on work and education in a sample of adolescent and young adult (AYA) patients with cancer.
Patients and Methods
By using the Adolescent and Young Adult Health Outcomes and Patient Experience Study (AYA HOPE)—a cohort of 463 recently diagnosed patients age 15 to 39 years with germ cell cancer, Hodgkin's lymphoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, sarcoma, and acute lymphocytic leukemia from participating Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) cancer registries—we evaluated factors associated with return to work/school after cancer diagnosis, a belief that cancer had a negative impact on plans for work/school, and reported problems with work/school after diagnosis by using descriptive statistics, χ2 tests, and multivariate logistic regression.
More than 72% (282 of 388) of patients working or in school full-time before diagnosis had returned to full-time work or school 15 to 35 months postdiagnosis compared with 34% (14 of 41) of previously part-time workers/students, 7% (one of 14) of homemakers, and 25% (five of 20) of unemployed/disabled patients (P < .001). Among full-time workers/students before diagnosis, patients who were uninsured (odds ratio [OR], 0.21; 95% CI, 0.07 to 0.67; no insurance v employer-/school-sponsored insurance) or quit working directly after diagnosis (OR, 0.15; 95% CI, 0.06 to 0.37; quit v no change) were least likely to return. Very intensive cancer treatment and quitting work/school were associated with a belief that cancer negatively influenced plans for work/school. Finally, more than 50% of full-time workers/students reported problems with work/studies after diagnosis.
Although most AYA patients with cancer return to work after cancer, treatment intensity, not having insurance, and quitting work/school directly after diagnosis can influence work/educational outcomes. Future research should investigate underlying causes for these differences and best practices for effective transition of these cancer survivors to the workplace/school after treatment.
PMCID: PMC3675694  PMID: 22614977
4.  The Association Between Neighborhood Characteristics and Body Size and Physical Activity in the California Teachers Study Cohort 
American journal of public health  2011;102(4):689-697.
We considered interactions between physical activity and body mass index (BMI) and neighborhood factors.
We used recursive partitioning to identify predictors of low recreational physical activity (<2.5 hours/week) and overweight and obesity (BMI≥25.0 kg/m2) among 118 315 women in the California Teachers Study. Neighborhood characteristics were based on 2000 US Census data and Reference US business listings.
Low physical activity and being overweight or obese were associated with individual sociodemographic characteristics, including race/ethnicity and age. Among White women aged 36 to 75 years, living in neighborhoods with more household crowding was associated with a higher probability of low physical activity (54% vs 45% to 51%). In less crowded neighborhoods where more people worked outside the home, the existence of fewer neighborhood amenities was associated with a higher probability of low physical activity (51% vs 46%). Among non–African American middle-aged women, living in neighborhoods with a lower socioeconomic status was associated with a higher probability of being overweight or obese (46% to 59% vs 38% in high–socioeconomic status neighborhoods).
Associations between physical activity, overweight and obesity, and the built environment varied by sociodemographic characteristics in this educated population.
PMCID: PMC3410673  PMID: 21852626
5.  Clinical Trial Participation and Time to Treatment Among Adolescents and Young Adults With Cancer: Does Age at Diagnosis or Insurance Make a Difference? 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2011;29(30):4045-4053.
Because adolescent and young adult (AYA) patients with cancer have experienced variable improvement in survival over the past two decades, enhancing the quality and timeliness of cancer care in this population has emerged as a priority area. To identify current trends in AYA care, we examined patterns of clinical trial participation, time to treatment, and provider characteristics in a population-based sample of AYA patients with cancer.
Using the National Cancer Institute Patterns of Care Study, we used multivariate logistic regression to evaluate demographic and provider characteristics associated with clinical trial enrollment and time to treatment among 1,358 AYA patients with cancer (age 15 to 39 years) identified through the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program.
In our study, 14% of patients age 15 to 39 years had enrolled onto a clinical trial; participation varied by type of cancer, with the highest participation in those diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (37%) and sarcoma (32%). Multivariate analyses demonstrated that uninsured, older patients and those treated by nonpediatric oncologists were less likely to enroll onto clinical trials. Median time from pathologic confirmation to first treatment was 3 days, but this varied by race/ethnicity and cancer site. In multivariate analyses, advanced cancer stage and outpatient treatment alone were associated with longer time from pathologic confirmation to treatment.
Our study identified factors associated with low clinical trial participation in AYA patients with cancer. These findings support the continued need to improve access to clinical trials and innovative treatments for this population, which may ultimately translate into improved survival.
PMCID: PMC3209697  PMID: 21931022
6.  Medical care in adolescents and young adult cancer survivors: what are the biggest access-related barriers? 
Adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer survivors experience barriers to utilizing healthcare, but the determinants of cancer-related medical care of AYAs has not been fully explored.
We studied factors associated with medical care utilization among 465 AYA cancer survivors in the AYA Health Outcomes and Patient Experience Study (AYA HOPE), a cohort of 15 to 39 year-olds recently diagnosed with germ cell cancer, lymphoma, sarcoma, or acute lymphocytic leukemia. Descriptive statistics and multivariate logistic regression methods were used.
Most AYA cancer survivors (95%), who were 15–35 months post diagnosis, received medical care in the past 12 months and 17% were undergoing cancer treatment. In multivariate analyses, compared with AYAs with no cancer-related medical visits in the previous year, AYAs receiving cancer-related care were more likely to currently have health insurance (odds ratio (OR) = 4.9; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.7–13.8) or have had health insurance in the past year (OR= 4.0; 95% CI: 0.99–16.3). Cancer recurrence, lacking employment and negative changes in self-reported general health were associated with ongoing cancer treatment versus other cancer-related medical care. 11% of all AYAs and 25% of AYAs who did not receive medical care in the past 12-months lost health insurance between the initial and follow-up surveys.
AYA cancer survivors with health insurance were much more likely to receive cancer-related medical care than those without insurance.
Implications for Cancer Survivors
Despite the need for post-treatment medical care, lacking health insurance is a barrier to receiving any medical care among AYAs.
PMCID: PMC4074375  PMID: 24408440
cancer survivors; adolescent and young adult; health insurance; cancer care
7.  Impact of neighborhood and individual socioeconomic status on survival after breast cancer varies by race/ethnicity: The Neighborhood and Breast Cancer Study 
Research is limited on the independent and joint effects of individual- and neighborhood-level socioeconomic status (SES) on breast cancer survival across different racial/ethnic groups.
We studied individual-level SES, measured by self-reported education, and a composite neighborhood SES (nSES) measure in females (1,068 non-Hispanic whites, 1,670 Hispanics, 993 African-Americans, and 674 Asian-Americans), aged 18–79 years and diagnosed 1995–2008, in the San Francisco Bay Area. We evaluated all-cause and breast cancer-specific survival using stage-stratified Cox proportional hazards models with cluster adjustment for census block groups.
In models adjusting for education and nSES, lower nSES was associated with worse all-cause survival among African-Americans (p-trend=0.03), Hispanics (p-trend=0.01) and Asian-Americans (p-trend=0.01). Education was not associated with all-cause survival. For breast cancer-specific survival, lower nSES was associated with poorer survival only among Asian-Americans (p-trend=0.01). When nSES and education were jointly considered, women with low education and low nSES had 1.4 to 2.7-times worse all-cause survival than women with high education and high nSES across all races/ethnicities. Among African-Americans and Asian-Americans, women with high education and low nSES had 1.6 to 1.9-times worse survival, respectively. For breast cancer-specific survival, joint associations were found only among Asian-Americans with worse survival for those with low nSES regardless of education.
Both neighborhood and individual SES are associated with survival after breast cancer diagnosis, but these relationships vary by race/ethnicity.
A better understanding of the relative contributions and interactions of SES with other factors will inform targeted interventions towards reducing long-standing disparities in breast cancer survival.
PMCID: PMC4018239  PMID: 24618999
breast cancer survival; neighborhood socioeconomic status; education; race/ethnicity
8.  Asian ethnicity and breast cancer subtypes: a study from the California Cancer Registry 
The distribution of breast cancer molecular subtypes has been shown to vary by race/ethnicity, highlighting the importance of host factors in breast tumor biology. We undertook the current analysis to determine population-based distributions of breast cancer subtypes among six ethnic Asian groups in California. We defined immunohistochemical (IHC) surrogates for each breast cancer subtype among Chinese, Japanese, Filipina, Korean, Vietnamese, and South Asian patients diagnosed with incident, primary, invasive breast cancer between 2002 and 2007 in the California Cancer Registry as: hormone receptor-positive (HR+)/HER2− [estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) and/or progesterone receptor-positive (PR+), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative (HER2−)], triple-negative (ER−, PR−, and HER2−), and HER2-positive (ER±, PR±, and HER2+). We calculated frequencies of breast cancer subtypes among Asian ethnic groups and evaluated their associations with clinical and demographic factors. Complete IHC data were available for 8,140 Asian women. Compared to non-Hispanic White women, Korean [odds ratio (OR) = 1.8, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.5–2.2], Filipina (OR = 1.3, 95% CI = 1.2–1.5), Vietnamese (OR = 1.3, 95% CI = 1.1–1.6), and Chinese (OR =1.1, 95% CI = 1.0–1.3) women had a significantly increased risk of being diagnosed with HER2-positive breast cancer subtypes after adjusting for age, stage, grade, socioeconomic status, histology, diagnosis year, nativity, and hospital ownership status. We report a significant ethnic disparity in HER2-positive breast cancer in a large population-based cohort enriched for Asian-Americans. Given the poor prognosis and high treatment costs of HER2-positive breast cancer, our results have implications for healthcare resource utilization, cancer biology, and clinical care.
PMCID: PMC4349378  PMID: 20957431
Breast cancer subtypes; Asian; Ethnicity; HER2-positive breast cancer; Hormone receptor-positive breast cancer; Triple-negative breast cancer
9.  Obesity and Mortality After Breast Cancer by Race/Ethnicity: The California Breast Cancer Survivorship Consortium 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2013;179(1):95-111.
We investigated body size and survival by race/ethnicity in 11,351 breast cancer patients diagnosed from 1993 to 2007 with follow-up through 2009 by using data from questionnaires and the California Cancer Registry. We calculated hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals from multivariable Cox proportional hazard model–estimated associations of body size (body mass index (BMI) (weight (kg)/height (m)2) and waist-hip ratio (WHR)) with breast cancer–specific and all-cause mortality. Among 2,744 ascertained deaths, 1,445 were related to breast cancer. Being underweight (BMI <18.5) was associated with increased risk of breast cancer mortality compared with being normal weight in non-Latina whites (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.91, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.14, 3.20), whereas morbid obesity (BMI ≥40) was suggestive of increased risk (HR = 1.43, 95% CI: 0.84, 2.43). In Latinas, only the morbidly obese were at high risk of death (HR = 2.26, 95% CI: 1.23, 4.15). No BMI–mortality associations were apparent in African Americans and Asian Americans. High WHR (quartile 4 vs. quartile 1) was associated with breast cancer mortality in Asian Americans (HR = 2.21, 95% CI: 1.21, 4.03; P for trend = 0.01), whereas no associations were found in African Americans, Latinas, or non-Latina whites. For all-cause mortality, even stronger BMI and WHR associations were observed. The impact of obesity and body fat distribution on breast cancer patients' risk of death may vary across racial/ethnic groups.
PMCID: PMC3864715  PMID: 24107615
adiposity; body mass index; breast cancer; mortality; obesity; race/ethnicity; survival; waist-hip ratio
10.  ‘Cancer Sucks,’ and Other Ponderings by Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Survivors 
As part of the National Cancer Institute’s AYA HOPE study, 296 AYAs completed an open-ended survey item asking them to describe their medical care or experience with cancer. Patient, provider, and system-level characteristics all appear to influence AYAs’ perceptions of their medical care. Participants attributed levels of satisfaction with care to the availability and communication of information, the management of side-effects, and the expediency and flexibility of treatments. Struggles with health insurance and finances were evident. Findings contribute to a better understanding of AYAs’ cancer treatment experiences and will inform improvements to oncology care for this population.
PMCID: PMC3902666  PMID: 24428248
adolescent; young adult; medical care; qualitative research; psychosocial
11.  The California Breast Cancer Survivorship Consortium (CBCSC): Prognostic factors associated with racial/ethnic differences in breast cancer survival 
Cancer causes & control : CCC  2013;24(10):1821-1836.
Racial/ethnic disparities in mortality among US breast cancer patients are well-documented. Our knowledge of the contribution of lifestyle factors to disease prognosis is based primarily on non-Latina Whites and is limited for Latina, African American and Asian American women. To address this knowledge gap, the California Breast Cancer Survivorship Consortium (CBCSC) harmonized and pooled interview information (e.g., demographics, family history of breast cancer, parity, smoking, alcohol consumption) from six California-based breast cancer studies and assembled corresponding cancer registry data (clinical characteristics, mortality), resulting in 12,210 patients (6,501 non-Latina Whites, 2,060 African Americans, 2,032 Latinas, 1,505 Asian Americans, 112 other race/ethnicity) diagnosed with primary invasive breast cancer between 1993 and 2007. In total, 3,047 deaths (1,570 breast cancer-specific) were observed with a mean (SD) follow-up of 8.3 (3.5) years. Cox-proportional hazards regression models were fit to data to estimate hazards ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for overall and breast cancer-specific mortality. Compared with non-Latina Whites, the HR of breast cancer-specific mortality was 1.13 (95% CI, 0.97-1.33) for African Americans, 0.84 (95% CI, 0.70-1.00) for Latinas, and 0.60 (95% CI, 0.37-0.97) for Asian Americans after adjustment for age, tumor characteristics, and select lifestyle factors. The CBCSC represents a large and racially/ethnically diverse cohort of breast cancer patients from California. This cohort will enable analyses to jointly consider a variety of clinical, lifestyle, and contextual factors in attempting to explain the long-standing disparities in breast cancer outcomes.
PMCID: PMC4046898  PMID: 23864487
race/ethnicity; survival; tumor characteristics; lifestyle factors
12.  Talking About Cancer and Meeting Peer Survivors: Social Information Needs of Adolescents and Young Adults Diagnosed with Cancer 
Limited research exists on the social information needs of adolescents and young adults (AYAs, aged 15–39 at diagnosis) with cancer.
The Adolescent and Young Adult Health Outcomes and Patient Experiences (AYA HOPE) Study recruited 523 patients to complete surveys 6–14 months after cancer diagnosis. Participants reported information needs for talking about their cancer experience with family and friends (TAC) and meeting peer survivors (MPS). Multiple logistic regression was used to examine factors associated with each need.
Approximately 25% (118/477) and 43% (199/462) of participants reported a TAC or MPS need respectively. Participants in their 20s (vs. teenagers) were more likely to report a MPS need (p=0.03). Hispanics (vs. non-Hispanic whites) were more likely to report a TAC need (p=0.01). Individuals who did not receive but reported needing support groups were about 4 and 13 times as likely to report TAC and MPS needs respectively (p<0.05). Participants reporting high symptom burden were more likely to report TAC and MPS needs (p<0.01), and those reporting fair/poor quality of care were more likely to report a TAC need (p<0.01). Those reporting that cancer had an impact on several key relationships with family and friends were more likely to report social information needs.
Social information needs are higher in AYAs diagnosed in their 20s, in Hispanics, among those reporting high symptom burden and/or lower quality of care, and in individuals not in support groups. Efforts should be made to develop interventions for AYAs in most need of social information and support.
PMCID: PMC3684139  PMID: 23781400
survivorship; social support; information needs; support group; peer support; communication
13.  Patterns and predictors of breast cancer chemotherapy use in Kaiser Permanente Northern California, 2004-2007 
Chemotherapy regimens for early stage breast cancer have been tested by randomized clinical trials, and specified by evidence-based practice guidelines. However, little is known about the translation of trial results and guidelines to clinical practice. We extracted individual-level data on chemotherapy administration from the electronic medical records of Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC), a pre-paid integrated healthcare system serving 29% of the local population. We linked data to the California Cancer Registry, incorporating socio-demographic and tumor factors, and performed multivariable logistic regression analyses on the receipt of specific chemotherapy regimens. We identified 6,004 women diagnosed with Stage I–III breast cancer at KPNC during 2004–2007; 2,669 (44.5 %) received at least one chemotherapy infusion at KPNC within 12 months of diagnosis. Factors associated with receiving chemotherapy included age <50 years [odds ratio (OR) 2.27, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.81–2.86], tumor >2 cm (OR 2.14, 95 % CI 1.75-2.61), involved lymph nodes (OR 11.3, 95 % CI 9.29–13.6), hormone receptor-negative (OR 6.94, 95% CI 4.89–9.86), Her2/neu-positive (OR 2.71, 95% CI 2.10–3.51), or high grade (OR 3.53, 95 % CI 2.77-4.49) tumors; comorbidities associated inversely with chemotherapy use [heart disease for anthracyclines (OR 0.24, 95 % CI 0.14–0.41), neuropathy for taxanes (OR 0.45, 95 % CI 0.22–0.89)]. Relative to high-socioeconomic status (SES) non-Hispanic Whites, we observed less anthracycline and taxane use by SES non-Hispanic Whites (OR 0.63, 95 % CI 0.49-0.82) and American Indians (OR 0.23, 95 % CI 0.06–0.93), and more anthracycline use by high-SES Asians/Pacific Islanders (OR 1.72, 95 % CI 1.02–2.90). In this equal-access healthcare system, chemotherapy use followed practice guidelines, but varied by race and socio-demographic factors. These findings may inform efforts to optimize quality in breast cancer care.
PMCID: PMC3769522  PMID: 23139057
Breast cancer; Chemotherapy; Patterns of care; Electronic medical record; Disparities; Outcomes research; Quality of care
14.  Impact of breast cancer subtypes on 3-year survival among adolescent and young adult women 
Young women have poorer survival after breast cancer than do older women. It is unclear whether this survival difference relates to the unique distribution of hormone receptor (HR) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-defined molecular breast cancer subtypes among adolescent and young adult (AYA) women aged 15 to 39 years. The purpose of our study was to examine associations between breast cancer subtypes and short-term survival in AYA women, as well as to determine whether the distinct molecular subtype distribution among AYA women explains the unfavorable overall breast cancer survival statistics reported for AYA women compared with older women.
Data for 5,331 AYA breast cancers diagnosed between 2005 and 2009 were obtained from the California Cancer Registry. Survival by subtype (triple-negative; HR+/HER2-; HR+/HER2+; HR-/HER2+) and age-group (AYA versus 40- to 64-year-olds) was analyzed with Cox proportional hazards regression with follow-up through 2010.
With up to 6 years of follow-up and a mean survival time of 3.1 years (SD = 1.5 years), AYA women diagnosed with HR-/HER + and triple-negative breast cancer experienced a 1.6-fold and 2.7-fold increased risk of death, respectively, from all causes (HR-/HER + hazard ratio: 1.55; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.10 to 2.18; triple-negative HR: 2.75; 95% CI, 2.06 to 3.66) and breast cancer (HR-/HER + hazard ratio: 1.63; 95% CI, 1.12 to 2.36; triple-negative hazard ratio: 2.71; 95% CI, 1.98 to 3.71) than AYA women with HR+/HER2- breast cancer. AYA women who resided in lower socioeconomic status neighborhoods, had public health insurance, and were of Black, compared with White, race/ethnicity experienced worse survival. This race/ethnicity association was attenuated somewhat after adjusting for breast cancer subtypes (hazard ratio, 1.33; 95% CI, 0.98 to 1.82). AYA women had similar all-cause and breast cancer-specific short-term survival as older women for all breast cancer subtypes and across all stages of disease.
Among AYA women with breast cancer, short-term survival varied by breast cancer subtypes, with the distribution of breast cancer subtypes explaining some of the poorer survival observed among Black, compared with White, AYA women. Future studies should consider whether distribution of breast cancer subtypes and other factors, including differential receipt of treatment regimens, influences long-term survival in young compared with older women.
PMCID: PMC3978627  PMID: 24131591
15.  Unmet adolescent and young adult cancer survivors information and service needs: A population-based cancer registry study 
We described unmet information and service needs of adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer survivors (15-39 years of age) and identified sociodemographic and health-related factors associated with these unmet needs.
We studied 523 AYAs recruited from 7 population-based cancer registries, diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia, Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, germ cell cancer or sarcoma in 2007-08. Participants completed surveys a median of 11 months from diagnosis. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to estimate associations between unmet (information and service) needs and sociodemographic and health-related factors.
More than half of AYAs had unmet information needs relating to their cancer returning and cancer treatments. AYAs needing services, but not receiving them, ranged from 29% for in-home nursing to 75% for a support group. The majority of AYAs who needed a pain management expert, physical/occupational therapist, mental health worker or financial advice on paying for health care did not receive services. In multivariable analyses, older participants, men, participants of non-White race/ethnicity, and participants who reported less than excellent general health, or fair/poor quality of care were more likely to report unmet information needs. Factors associated with both unmet service and information needs included physical health or emotional problems interfering with social activities or having ≥ 3 physical treatment-related symptoms.
Recently diagnosed AYA cancer survivors have substantial unmet information needs varying by demographic and health-related factors.
Implications for Cancer Survivors
We identified subgroups of AYA cancer survivors with high unmet needs that can be targeted for interventions and referrals.
PMCID: PMC3433596  PMID: 22457219
adolescent; young adult; cancer survivor; information needs; service needs
16.  Age-Specific Incidence of Breast Cancer Subtypes: Understanding the Black–White Crossover 
Background Breast cancer incidence is higher among black women than white women before age 40 years, but higher among white women than black women after age 40 years (black–white crossover). We used newly available population-based data to examine whether the age-specific incidences of breast cancer subtypes vary by race and ethnicity.
Methods We classified 91908 invasive breast cancers diagnosed in California between January 1, 2006, and December 31, 2009, by subtype based on tumor expression of estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR)—together referred to as hormone receptor (HR)—and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). Breast cancer subtypes were classified as ER or PR positive and HER2 negative (HR+/HER2−), ER or PR positive and HER2 positive (HR+/HER2+), ER and PR negative and HER2 positive (HR−/HER2+), and ER, PR, and HER2 negative (triple-negative). We calculated and compared age-specific incidence rates, incidence rate ratios, and 95% confidence intervals by subtype and race (black, white, Hispanic, and Asian). All P values are two-sided.
Results We did not observe an age-related black–white crossover in incidence for any molecular subtype of breast cancer. Compared with white women, black women had statistically significantly higher rates of triple-negative breast cancer at all ages but statistically significantly lower rates of HR+/HER2− breast cancers after age 35 years (all P < .05). The age-specific incidence of HR+/HER2+ and HR−/HER2+ subtypes did not vary markedly between white and black women.
Conclusions The black–white crossover in breast cancer incidence occurs only when all breast cancer subtypes are combined and relates largely to higher rates of triple-negative breast cancers and lower rates of HR+/HER2− breast cancers in black vs white women.
PMCID: PMC3640371  PMID: 22773826
17.  Patient, hospital, and neighborhood factors associated with treatment of early-stage breast cancer among Asian American women in California 
Clinical guidelines recommend breast conserving surgery (BCS) with radiation as a viable alternative to mastectomy for treatment of early-stage breast cancer. Yet, Asian Americans (AA) are more likely than other groups to have mastectomy or omit radiation after BCS.
We applied polytomous logistic regression and recursive partitioning (RP) to analyze factors associated with mastectomy, or BCS without radiation, among 20,987 California AAs diagnosed with stage 0–II breast cancer from 1990–2007.
The percentage receiving mastectomy ranged from 40% among US-born Chinese to 58% among foreign-born Vietnamese. Factors associated with mastectomy included tumor characteristics such as larger tumor size, patient characteristics such as older age and foreign birthplace among some AA ethnicities, and additional factors including hospital (smaller hospital size, not NCI cancer center, low socioeconomic status (SES) patient composition, and high hospital AA patient composition) and neighborhood characteristics (ethnic enclaves of low SES). These hospital and neighborhood characteristics were also associated with BCS without radiation. Through RP, the highest mastectomy subgroups were defined by tumor characteristics such as size and anatomic location, in combination with diagnosis year and nativity.
Tumor characteristics and, secondarily, patient, hospital and neighborhood factors, are predictors of mastectomy and omission of radiation following BCS among AAs.
By focusing on interactions among patient, hospital, and neighborhood factors in the differential receipt of breast cancer treatment, our study identifies subgroups of interest for further study, and translation into public health and patient-focused initiatives to ensure that all women are fully informed about treatment options.
PMCID: PMC3406750  PMID: 22402290
18.  Unmet Support Service Needs and Health-Related Quality of Life among Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer: The AYA HOPE Study 
Introduction: Cancer for adolescents and young adults (AYA) differs from younger and older patients; AYA face medical challenges while navigating social and developmental transitions. Research suggests that these patients are under or inadequately served by current support services, which may affect health-related quality of life (HRQOL).
Methods: We examined unmet service needs and HRQOL in the National Cancer Institute’s Adolescent and Young Adult Health Outcomes and Patient Experience (AYA HOPE) study, a population-based cohort (n = 484), age 15–39, diagnosed with cancer 6–14 months prior, in 2007–2009. Unmet service needs were psychosocial, physical, spiritual, and financial services where respondents endorsed that they needed, but did not receive, a listed service. Linear regression models tested associations between any or specific unmet service needs and HRQOL, adjusting for demographic, medical, and health insurance variables.
Results: Over one-third of respondents reported at least one unmet service need. The most common were financial (16%), mental health (15%), and support group (14%) services. Adjusted models showed that having any unmet service need was associated with worse overall HRQOL, fatigue, physical, emotional, social, and school/work functioning, and mental health (p’s < 0.0001). Specific unmet services were related to particular outcomes [e.g., needing pain management was associated with worse overall HRQOL, physical and social functioning (p’s < 0.001)]. Needing mental health services had the strongest associations with worse HRQOL outcomes; needing physical/occupational therapy was most consistently associated with poorer functioning across domains.
Discussion: Unmet service needs in AYAs recently diagnosed with cancer are associated with worse HRQOL. Research should examine developmentally appropriate, relevant practices to improve access to services demonstrated to adversely impact HRQOL, particularly physical therapy and mental health services.
PMCID: PMC3619248  PMID: 23580328
support service needs; health-related quality of life; adolescent; young adult oncology; cancer
19.  Nativity and papillary thyroid cancer incidence rates among Hispanic women in California 
Cancer  2011;118(1):216-222.
Overall, the incidence of papillary thyroid cancer in Hispanic women residing in the United States (US) is similar to that of non-Hispanic white women. However, little is known as to whether rates in Hispanic women vary by nativity, which may influence exposure to important risk factors.
Nativity-specific incidence rates among Hispanic women were calculated for papillary thyroid cancer using data from the California Cancer Registry (CCR) for the period 1988–2004. For the 35% of cases for whom birthplace information was not available from the CCR, nativity was statistically imputed based on age at Social Security number issuance. Population estimates were extracted based on US Census data. Incidence rate ratios (IRR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were also estimated.
In young (age <55 years) Hispanic women, the incidence of papillary thyroid cancer among US-born (10.65 per 100,000) was significantly greater than that for foreign-born (6.67 per 100,000; IRR=1.60, 95% CI: 1.44–1.77). The opposite pattern was observed in older women. The age-specific patterns showed marked differences by nativity: among foreign-born, rates increased slowly until age 70 years, whereas, among US-born, incidence rates peaked during the reproductive years. Incidence rates increased over the study period in all subgroups.
Incidence rates of papillary thyroid cancer vary by nativity and age among Hispanic women residing in California. These patterns can provide insight for future etiologic investigations of modifiable risk factors for this increasingly common and understudied cancer.
PMCID: PMC3179782  PMID: 21692062
papillary thyroid cancer; incidence rates; nativity; Hispanic women; cancer surveillance
20.  Lymphoid malignancies in US Asians: incidence rate differences by birthplace and acculturation 
Malignancies of the lymphoid cells, including non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHLs), Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) and multiple myeloma (MM), occur at much lower rates in Asians than other racial/ethnic groups in the United States (US). It remains unclear whether these deficits are explained by genetic or environmental factors. To better understand environmental contributions, we examined incidence patterns of lymphoid malignancies among populations characterized by ethnicity, birthplace, and residential neighborhood socioeconomic status (SES) and ethnic enclave status.
We obtained data regarding all Asian patients diagnosed with lymphoid malignancies between 1988 and 2004 from the California Cancer Registry and neighborhood characteristics from US Census data.
While incidence rates of most lymphoid malignancies were lower among Asian than white populations, only follicular lymphoma (FL), chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL/SLL), and nodular sclerosis (NS) HL rates were statistically significantly lower among foreign-born than US-born Asians, with incidence rate ratios ranging from 0.34 to 0.87. Rates of CLL/SLL and NS HL were also lower among Asian women living in ethnic enclaves or lower-SES neighborhoods than those living elsewhere. Conclusions: These observations support strong roles of environmental factors in the causation of FL, CLL/SLL, and NS HL.
Studying specific lymphoid malignancies in US Asians may provide valuable insight towards understanding their environmental causes.
PMCID: PMC3111874  PMID: 21493873
lymphoid malignancies; Asians; immigration; environmental causes
21.  The California Neighborhoods Data System: a new resource for examining the impact of neighborhood characteristics on cancer incidence and outcomes in populations 
Cancer causes & control : CCC  2011;22(4):631-647.
Research on neighborhoods and health has been growing. However, studies have not investigated the association of specific neighborhood measures, including socioeconomic and built environments, with cancer incidence or outcomes. We developed the California Neighborhoods Data System (CNDS), an integrated system of small area-level measures of socioeconomic and built environments for California, which can be readily linked to individual-level geocoded records. The CNDS includes measures such as socioeconomic status, population density, racial residential segregation, ethnic enclaves, distance to hospitals, walkable destinations, and street connectivity. Linking the CNDS to geocoded cancer patient information from the California Cancer Registry, we demonstrate the variability of CNDS measures by neighborhood socioeconomic status and predominant race/ethnicity for the 7,049 California census tracts, as well as by patient race/ethnicity. The CNDS represents an efficient and cost-effective resource for cancer epidemiology and control. It expands our ability to understand the role of neighborhoods with regard to cancer incidence and outcomes. Used in conjunction with cancer registry data, these additional contextual measures enable the type of transdisciplinary, “cells-to-society” research that is now being recognized as necessary for addressing population disparities in cancer incidence and outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3102646  PMID: 21318584
Neighborhood; Socioeconomic environment; Built environment; Immigration; Contextual factors; GIS
22.  Papillary thyroid cancer incidence rates vary significantly by birthplace in Asian American women 
Cancer causes & control : CCC  2011;22(3):479-485.
To investigate how birthplace influences the incidence of papillary thyroid cancer among Asian American women.
Birthplace- and ethnic-specific age-adjusted and age-specific incidence rates were calculated using data from the California Cancer Registry for the period 1988–2004. Birthplace was statistically imputed for 30% of cases using a validated imputation method based on age at Social Security number issuance. Population estimates were obtained from the US Census. Incidence rate ratios (IRR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated for foreign-born vs. US-born women.
Age-adjusted incidence rates of papillary thyroid cancer among Filipina (13.7 per 100,000) and Vietnamese (12.7) women were more than double those of Japanese women (6.2). US-born Chinese (IRR=0.48, 95% CI: 0.40–0.59) and Filipina women (IRR=0.74, 95% CI: 0.58–0.96) had significantly higher rates than those who were foreign-born; the opposite was observed for Japanese women (IRR=1.55, 95% CI: 1.17–2.08). The age-specific patterns among all foreign-born Asian women and US-born Japanese women showed a slow steady increase in incidence until age 70. However, among US-born Asian women (except Japanese), substantially elevated incidence rates during the reproductive and menopausal years were evident.
Ethnic- and birthplace-variation in papillary thyroid cancer incidence can provide insight into the etiology of this increasingly common and understudied cancer.
PMCID: PMC3291661  PMID: 21207130
papillary thyroid cancer; incidence rates; birthplace; Asian American women; cancer surveillance
23.  Global DNA methylation levels in girls with and without a family history of breast cancer 
Epigenetics  2011;6(1):29-33.
Lower levels of global DNA methylation in white blood cell (WBC) DNA have been associated with adult cancers. It is unknown whether individuals with a family history of cancer also have lower levels of global DNA methylation early in life. We examined global DNA methylation in WBC (measured in three repetitive elements, LINE1, Sat2 and Alu, by MethyLight and in LINE1 by pyrosequencing) in 51 girls aged 6–17 years. Compared to girls without a family history of breast cancer, methylation levels were lower for all assays in girls with a family history of breast cancer and statistically significantly lower for Alu and LINE1 pyrosequencing. After adjusting for age, body mass index (BMI) and Tanner stage, only methylation in Alu was associated with family history of breast cancer. If these findings are replicated in larger studies, they suggest that lower levels of global WBC DNA methylation observed later in life in adults with cancer may also be present early in life in children with a family history of cancer.
PMCID: PMC3052913  PMID: 20930546
Alu; DNA global methylation; early life exposure; epigenetics; LINE1; methylight; pyrosequencing; Sat2
24.  Past recreational physical activity, body size, and all-cause mortality following breast cancer diagnosis: results from the Breast Cancer Family Registry 
Few studies have considered the joint association of body mass index (BMI) and physical activity, two modifiable factors, with all-cause mortality after breast cancer diagnosis. Women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer (n=4,153) between 1991 and 2000 were enrolled in the Breast Cancer Family Registry through population-based sampling in Northern California, USA; Ontario, Canada; and Melbourne and Sydney, Australia. During a median follow-up of 7.8 years, 725 deaths occurred. Baseline questionnaires assessed moderate and vigorous recreational physical activity and BMI prior to diagnosis. Associations with all-cause mortality were assessed using Cox proportional hazards regression, adjusting for established prognostic factors. Compared with no physical activity, any recreational activity during the three years prior to diagnosis was associated with a 34% lower risk of death (hazard ratio (HR) = 0.66, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.51-0.85) for women with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive tumors, but not those with ER-negative tumors; this association did not appear to differ by race/ethnicity or BMI. Lifetime physical activity was not associated with all-cause mortality. BMI was positively associated with all-cause mortality for women diagnosed at age ≥50 years with ER-positive tumors (compared with normal-weight women, HR for overweight = 1.39, 95% CI: 0.90-2.15; HR for obese = 1.77, 95% CI: 1.11-2.82). BMI associations did not appear to differ by race/ethnicity. Our findings suggest that physical activity and BMI exert independent effects on overall mortality after breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC2920352  PMID: 20140702
breast cancer; physical activity; body mass index; obesity; mortality
25.  Disparities in Breast Cancer Survival Among Asian Women by Ethnicity and Immigrant Status: A Population-Based Study 
American journal of public health  2010;100(5):861-869.
We investigated heterogeneity in ethnic composition and immigrant status among US Asians as an explanation for disparities in breast cancer survival.
We enhanced data from the California Cancer Registry and the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program through linkage and imputation to examine the effect of immigrant status, neighborhood socioeconomic status, and ethnic enclave on mortality among Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, South Asian, and Vietnamese women diagnosed with breast cancer from 1988 to 2005 and followed through 2007.
US-born women had similar mortality rates in all Asian ethnic groups except the Vietnamese, who had lower mortality risk (hazard ratio [HR]=0.3; 95% confidence interval [CI]=0.1, 0.9). Except for Japanese women, all foreign-born women had higher mortality than did US-born Japanese, the reference group. HRs ranged from 1.4 (95% CI=1.2, 1.7) among Koreans to 1.8 (95% CI=1.5, 2.2) among South Asians and Vietnamese. Little of this variation was explained by differences in disease characteristics.
Survival after breast cancer is poorer among foreign- than US-born Asians. Research on underlying factors is needed, along with increased awareness and targeted cancer control.
PMCID: PMC2853623  PMID: 20299648

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