PloS one 2018 02 1513(2) e0193047 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0193047
Cervical cancer outcomes remain poor among disadvantaged populations, including ethnic minorities, low-income, and underinsured women. The aim of this study was to evaluate the mechanisms that underlie the observed association between race/ethnicity and cervical cancer survival. We identified 13,698 women, ages 21 to 64 years, diagnosed with stages I-III primary cervical cancer between 2007-2013 in Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER). Multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression models evaluated associations between race/ethnicity (Non-Hispanic White, Non-Hispanic Black, Hispanic, Other) and cervical cancer-specific mortality. We conducted mediation analysis to calculate the mediation proportion and its 95% confidence interval. Non-Hispanic black women had an increased risk of cervical cancer-specific mortality (HR: 1.23, 95% CI: 1.08-1.39), and Hispanic women a decreased risk of dying from their disease (HR: 0.82, 95% CI: 0.72-0.93), compared with non-Hispanic white. The estimated proportion of excess cervical cancer mortality for non-Hispanic black women relative to non-Hispanic white women that was mediated by insurance was 18.6% and by treatment was 47.2%. Furthermore, non-Hispanic black women were more likely to receive radiation and less likely to receive surgery for early-stage disease. In this population-based study we found that some of the excess cervical cancer-specific mortality for non-Hispanic black women is mediated by factors such as insurance status and treatment. These findings suggest that enhancing existing insurance coverage and ensuring equal and adequate treatment in all women may be a key strategy for improving cervical cancer outcomes.