Care delay may allow for cancer progression prior to treatment initiation. However, in endometrial cancer, quantitative data to support this hypothesis is mixed. Factors that cuase delay prior to clinical presentation are present among Black women, however the whether and how they present among White women, and thus how they may drive racial disparity is unknown.
In this qualitative study, from June 2019 to March 2020, we conducted in-depth semi-structured interviews among 17 White women with EC (34-73 years), living in the Northwest (11), West (2), Midwest (1), Southwest (1), and Northeast (2) U.S. regions, including six with high-risk and/or advanced stage endometrial cancer. An exploratory and descriptive content analysis was performed using iterative rounds of inductive coding, case summaries, and additional interviews to confirm emergent themes, followed by synthetic analysis of themes from a prior qualitative study conducted among Black women, which we analyzed for overlap and distinctions.
There were critical points of overlap and distinction between Black and White women in four delay factors identified: menopause and endometrial cancer knowledge, prior negative healthcare experiences, prior/concurrent reproductive conditions, and healthcare provider response. Conceptualizing the care journey as a circular path demonstrates the potential for accumulation of delay that is dependent on underlying risk.
We have identified four areas of vulnerability that are often unrecognized and difficult to assess in quantitative investigations of overall quality and co-occurring disparities in endometrial cancer care. With the addition of epidemiologic risk, we present a unified model of vulnerability to care delay in endometrial cancer that can be applied to future quantitative studies and ongoing clinical care.

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