Background: Variation in breast cancer surgical practice patterns can lead to poor clinical outcomes. It is important to measure and reduce variation to ensure all women diagnosed with breast cancer receive equitable, high-quality care. A population-based assessment of the variation in breast cancer surgery treatment and quality has never been conducted in Manitoba. The objective of this study was to assess the variation in surgical treatment patterns, quality of care, and post-operative outcomes for women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. Methods: This descriptive study used data from the Manitoba Cancer Registry, Hospital Discharge Abstracts Database, Medical Claims, Manitoba Health Insurance Registry, and Statistics Canada. The study included women in Manitoba aged 20+ and diagnosed with invasive breast cancer between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2014. Results: Axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) for node-negative disease ranged from 11.8% to 33.3%, timeliness (surgery within 30 days of consult) ranged from 33.3% to 60.2%, and re-excision ranged from 14.7% to 24.6% between health authorities. Women who underwent breast-conserving surgery had the shortest median length of stay and women who underwent mastectomy with immediate reconstruction had the longest median length of stay. In-hospital post-operative complications were higher among women who received mastectomy with immediate reconstruction (9.9%). Conclusion: Variation in surgical treatment, quality, and outcomes exist in Manitoba. The findings from this study can be used to inform cancer service delivery planning, quality improvement efforts, and policy development. Influencing data-driven change at the health system level is paramount to ensuring Manitobans receive the highest quality of care.
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