Vitals Ranks America’s Top States for Access to Breast Cancer Care

Maine and Mississippi rank at bottom for access – link to state poverty levels

LYNDHURST, N.J.--()--Breast cancer is the most common disease among women in the United States, accounting for nearly one of every three cancers diagnosed. In 2013, an estimated 296,980 new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed in women in the U.S., resulting in 39,620 deaths.

A key part to survival for the 1 in 8 woman who will experience breast cancer in her lifetime depends on access to experienced specialists and the trusting bond that results in cooperation and adherence to treatment plans.

To create the list of America’s Top States for Access to Breast Cancer Care, statistics from Vitals’ vast doctor database were paired with publicly available demographic data available on incident rates of breast cancer. Several doctors – from gynecologists to oncologists, radiologists to plastic surgeons – focus on treating women with breast cancer.

The study revealed that the ratio of breast cancer patients to specialists was best in Missouri (20:1), Massachusetts (25:1) and Maryland (27:1). In contrast, the ratio of patients to breast cancer specialists in Alaska is 200 to 1. Mississippi (144:1) and Hawaii (104:1) also had high patient to doctor ratios.


Access to Breast Cancer Specialists (by incident of breast cancer)


No. of



Avg Incidence

(per 100,000)


Patients per


MO 163 112.1 20.6 1
MA 379 140.5 24.8 2
MD 274 126 27.3 3
RI 47 126 28.2 4
VT 27 126 29.2 5
AK 5 140.5 206.5 50
MS 51 121.3 143.8 49
HI 17 126 104.1 48
ID 18 112.1 100.4 47
AR 37 112.1 89.7 46

In addition, patient-reported metrics such as doctor ratings and ease in getting an appointment were calculated into the final rankings.

“A good doctor-patient relationship has been shown to effect outcomes with patients. And nowhere are the consequences more dire than when dealing with breast cancer,” said Mitch Rothschild, CEO of Vitals. “Patients need to feel they are getting timely care and are being heard by their care professionals.”

Several states on the report’s bottom 10 are considered to have the highest poverty rates in the nation. Economic factors have been linked to when women get diagnosed with breast cancer in several medical studies. Poverty-stricken women are more likely to wait before seeking treatment because of the cost of care or time spent away from family and jobs. Maine’s poverty rate is #33, while Mississippi is #50 – the worst in the nation. In contrast, Vermont, which ranked at the top of the survey, has the third lowest poverty rate in the nation.

To see the full list of state rankings, visit

Best Overall Access to Quality Breast Cancer Care

State       Rank
VT 1
WA 2
WI 3
CT 4
NH 5
MO 6
NE 7
FL 8
PA* 9
IA* 9

(* indicates tie)

Worst Overall Access to Quality Breast Cancer Care

ME       49
MS 48
AL 47
CO 46
CA* 45
KY* 45
GA* 43
NM* 43
ID 41
NY 40

About Vitals

Vitals is reinventing the way people choose doctors and medical facilities. We provide increased transparency to cost, quality and access information to support effective decision making. Vitals brings together actionable data, online tools and an engaging consumer experience that empowers consumers to make more informed, higher-quality and lower-cost health care decisions. Through health plans, hospitals and our leading consumer websites, Vitals helps more than 150 million people each year access information for better, more affordable care. The Vitals Index is an ongoing report about the state of doctor-patient relationships based on proprietary data and surveys.

Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.


Rosie Mattio, 917-583-6349


Rosie Mattio, 917-583-6349