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06.06.2019 | Ausgabe 4/2019

Journal of Cancer Survivorship 4/2019

Racial and socioeconomic disparities in adherence to preventive health services for ovarian cancer survivors

Journal of Cancer Survivorship > Ausgabe 4/2019
Lacey Loomer, Kevin C. Ward, Evelyn A. Reynolds, Silke A. von Esenwein, Joseph Lipscomb
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To examine ovarian cancer survivors’ adherence to evidence-based guidelines for preventive health care.


A case-control, retrospective study of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries diagnosed with stage I, II, or III epithelial ovarian cancer from 2001 to 2010 using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare database. Survivors were matched 1:1 to non-cancer controls from the 5% Medicare Beneficiary file on age, race, state of residence, and follow-up time. Receipt of flu vaccination, mammography, and bone density tests were examined in accordance with national guidelines. Adherence was assessed starting 1 year after cancer diagnosis, across 2 years of claims. Interaction with the health care system, including outpatient and cancer surveillance visits, was tested as a potential mechanism for receipt of services.


2437 survivors met the eligibility criteria (mean age, 75; 90% white). Ovarian cancer survivors were more likely to be adherent to flu vaccination (5 percentage points (pp); < 0.001) and mammography guidelines (10 pp.; < 0.001) compared to non-cancer controls, but no differences were found for bone density test guidelines (− 1 pp.; NS). Black women were less likely to be adherent to flu vaccination and bone density tests compared with white women. Women dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid were less likely to be adherent compared to those without such support. Adherence was not influenced by measures of outpatient visits.


Ovarian cancer survivors are receiving preventive services with the same or better adherence than their matched counterparts. Minority and dual-eligible survivors received preventive services at a lower rate than white survivors and those with higher income. The number of outpatient visits was not associated with increased preventive health visits.

Implications for Cancer Survivors

Ovarian cancer survivors are receiving adequate follow-up care to be adherent to preventive health measures. Efforts to improve care coordination post-treatment may help reduce minority and low SES disparities.

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