Skip to Content

Katharine A. Yao, M.D.

Katharine A. Yao, M.D.

Katharine A. Yao, M.D.

Breast Surgery
  • Locations

    NorthShore Medical Group

    2650 Ridge Ave.
    Suite 1155
    Evanston, IL 60201
    847.570.1700 847.733.5298 fax
    View Map: Google
    This location is wheelchair accessible.

    NorthShore Medical Group

    2650 Ridge Ave.
    Kellogg Cancer Center
    Evanston, IL 60201
    847.570.1700 847.733.5298 fax
    View Map: Google
    This location is wheelchair accessible.
  • Publications
    • Rates of Bilateral Mastectomy in Patients With Early-Stage Breast Cancer.

      JAMA network open 2023 Jan 03

      Authors: Fefferman M, Nicholson K, Kuchta K, Pesce C, Kopkash K, Yao K
      PMID: 36652251 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
    • Impact of Surgical Delays During the Initial Surge of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Patients with Breast Disease.

      Annals of surgical oncology 2023 Feb

      Authors: Nicholson K, Kuchta K, Pesce C
      PMID: 36484903 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
    • Evaluation of a National Quality Improvement Collaborative for Improving Cancer Screening.

      JAMA network open 2022 Nov 01

      Authors: Joung RH, Mullett TW
      Cancer screening deficits during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic were found to persist into 2021. Cancer-related deaths over the next decade are projected to increase if these deficits are not addressed.
      To assess whether participation in a nationwide quality improvement (QI) collaborative, Return-to-Screening, was associated with restoration of cancer screening.
      Accredited cancer programs electively enrolled in this QI study. Project-specific targets were established on the basis of differences in mean monthly screening test volumes (MTVs) between representative prepandemic (September 2019 and January 2020) and pandemic (September 2020 and January 2021) periods to restore prepandemic volumes and achieve a minimum of 10% increase in MTV. Local QI teams implemented evidence-based screening interventions from June to November 2021 (intervention period), iteratively adjusting interventions according to their MTVs and target. Interrupted time series analyses was used to identify the intervention effect. Data analysis was performed from January to April 2022.
      Collaborative QI support included provision of a Return-to-Screening plan-do-study-act protocol, evidence-based screening interventions, QI education, programmatic coordination, and calculation of screening deficits and targets.
      The primary outcome was the proportion of QI projects reaching target MTV and counterfactual differences in the aggregate number of screening tests across time periods.
      Of 859 cancer screening QI projects (452 for breast cancer, 134 for colorectal cancer, 244 for lung cancer, and 29 for cervical cancer) conducted by 786 accredited cancer programs, 676 projects (79%) reached their target MTV. There were no hospital characteristics associated with increased likelihood of reaching target MTV except for disease site (lung vs breast, odds ratio, 2.8; 95% CI, 1.7 to 4.7). During the preintervention period (April to May 2021), there was a decrease in the mean MTV (slope, -13.1 tests per month; 95% CI, -23.1 to -3.2 tests per month). Interventions were associated with a significant immediate (slope, 101.0 tests per month; 95% CI, 49.1 to 153.0 tests per month) and sustained (slope, 36.3 tests per month; 95% CI, 5.3 to 67.3 tests per month) increase in MTVs relative to the preintervention trends. Additional screening tests were performed during the intervention period compared with the prepandemic period (170 748 tests), the pandemic period (210 450 tests), and the preintervention period (722 427 tests).
      In this QI study, participation in a national Return-to-Screening collaborative with a multifaceted QI intervention was associated with improvements in cancer screening. Future collaborative QI endeavors leveraging accreditation infrastructure may help address other gaps in cancer care.
      PMID: 36383381 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
    • Impact of Surgical Delay on Tumor Upstaging and Outcomes in Estrogen Receptor-Negative Ductal Carcinoma in Situ Patients.

      Journal of the American College of Surgeons 2022 Nov 01

      Authors: Deliere AE, Kuchta KM, Pesce CE, Kopkash KA, Yao KA
      The delay of elective surgeries by the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic prompted concern among surgeons to delay estrogen receptor (ER)-negative ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) for fear of missing an ER-negative invasive cancer and compromising survival of patients.
      Female patients ≥40 years old diagnosed with ER-negative DCIS from 2004 to 2017 were examined from the National Cancer Database. Multivariable logistic regression, adjusting for patient and tumor factors, was used to determine factors associated with tumor upstage. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards modeling was used to determine if surgical delay impacted overall survival of ER-negative DCIS patients that were upstaged to invasive disease.
      There were 219,731 patients with DCIS of which 24,338 (11.1%) had tumor upstage. Of these patients, 5,675 (16.2%) of ER-negative and 18,663 (10.1%) of ER-positive DCIS patients were upstaged (p ≤ 0.001). From 2004 to 2017, ER-negative DCIS upstage rates increased from 12.9% to 18.9%. Independent factors associated with tumor upstage were younger age (odds ratio [OR] 0.75 [95% CI 0.69 to 0.81]) and Black race (OR 1.34 [95% CI 1.22 to 1.46]). Compared with patients with ≤30 days between biopsy and surgery, patients with a 31- to 60-day interval (OR 1.13 [95% CI 1.05 to 1.20]) and a >60-day interval (OR 1.12 [95% CI 1.02 to 1.23]) had an increased rate of tumor upstage. Among ER-negative DCIS patients whose tumors were upstaged to invasive disease, Cox proportional hazard regression modeling showed no association between the number of days between biopsy and surgery and overall survival.
      Delays in surgery were associated with higher tumor upstage rates but not with worse overall survival.
      PMID: 36102573 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
    • ASO Visual Abstract: Male Breast Cancer Patients and Surgeon Experience: The Male WhySurg Study.

      Annals of surgical oncology 2022 Oct

      Authors: Chichura A
      PMID: 36001182 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
    • Male Breast Cancer Patient and Surgeon Experience: The Male WhySurg Study.

      Annals of surgical oncology 2022 Oct

      Authors: Chichura A
      Little is known about the experience of the male breast cancer patient. Mastectomy is often offered despite evidence that breast-conserving surgery (BCS) provides similar outcomes.
      Two concurrent online surveys were distributed from August to October 2020 via social media to male breast cancer (MBC) patients and by email to American Society of Breast Surgeon members. The MBC patients were asked their opinions about their surgery, and the surgeons were asked to provide surgical recommendations for MBC patients.
      The survey involved 63 MBC patients with a mean age of 62 years (range, 31-79 years). Five MBC patients (7.9 %) stated that their surgeon recommended BCS, but 54 (85.7 %) of the patients underwent unilateral, and 8 (12.7 %) underwent bilateral mastectomy. Most of the patients (n = 60, 96.8 %) had no reconstruction. One third of the patients (n = 21, 33.3 %) felt somewhat or very uncomfortable with their appearance after surgery. The response rate was 16.5 % for the surgeons. Of the 438 surgeons who answered the survey, 298 (73.3 %) were female, 215 (51.7 %) were fellowship-trained, and 244 (58.9 %) had been practicing for 16 years or longer. More than half of surgeons (n = 259, 59.1 %) routinely offered BCS to eligible men, and 180 (41.3 %) stated they had performed BCS on a man with breast cancer. Whereas 89 (20.8 %) of the surgeons stated that they routinely offer reconstruction to MBC patients, 87 (20.3 %) said they do not offer reconstruction, 96 (22.4 %) said they offer it only if the patient requests it, and 157 (36.6 %) said they never consider it as an option.
      The study found discordance between MBC patients' satisfaction with their surgery and surgeon recommendations and experience. These data present an opportunity to optimize the MBC patient experience.
      PMID: 35876929 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
    • A national quality improvement study identifying and addressing cancer screening deficits due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

      Cancer 2022 Jun 01

      Authors: Joung RH
      Cancer-related deaths over the next decade are expected to increase due to cancer screening deficits associated with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Although national deficits have been quantified, a structured response to identifying and addressing local deficits has not been widely available. The objectives of this report are to share preliminary data on monthly screening deficits in breast, colorectal, lung, and cervical cancers across diverse settings and to provide online materials from a national quality improvement (QI) study to help other institutions to address local screening deficits.
      This prospective, national QI study on Return-to-Screening enrolled 748 accredited cancer programs in the United States from April through June 2021. Local prepandemic and pandemic monthly screening test volumes (MTVs) were used to calculate the relative percent change in MTV to describe the monthly screening gap.
      The majority of facilities reported monthly screening deficits (colorectal cancer, 80.6% [n = 104/129]; cervical cancer, 69.0% [n = 20/29]; breast cancer, 55.3% [n = 241/436]; lung cancer, 44.6% [n = 98/220]). Overall, the median relative percent change in MTV ranged from -17.7% for colorectal cancer (interquartile range [IQR], -33.6% to -2.8%), -6.8% for cervical cancer (IQR, -29.4% to 1.7%), -1.6% for breast cancer (IQR, -9.6% to 7.0%), and 1.2% for lung cancer (IQR, -16.9% to 19.0%). Geographic differences were not observed. There were statistically significant differences in the percent change in MTV between institution types for colorectal cancer screening (P = .02).
      Cancer screening is still in need of urgent attention, and the screening resources made available online may help facilities to close critical gaps and address screenings missed in 2020.
      Question: How can the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic on cancer screening be mitigated?
      When national resources were provided, including methods to calculate local screening deficits, 748 cancer programs promptly enrolled in a national Return-to-Screening study, and the majority identified local screening deficits, most notably in colorectal cancer. Using these results, 814 quality improvement projects were initiated with the potential to add 70,000 screening tests in 2021. Meaning: Cancer screening is still in need of urgent attention, and the online resources that we provide may help to close critical screening deficits.
      PMID: 35307815 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
    • Patients Undergoing Bilateral Mastectomy and Breast-Conserving Surgery Have the Lowest Levels of Regret: The WhySurg Study.

      Annals of surgical oncology 2021 Oct

      Authors: Deliere A, Attai D, Victorson D, Kuchta K, Pesce C, Kopkash K, Sisco M, Seth A, Yao K
      The recent data on decision regret of patients undergoing breast cancer surgery are sparse.
      An electronic cross-sectional survey was distributed to Love Research Army volunteers ages 18-70 years who underwent breast cancer surgery from 2009 to 2020. Decision regret scores were compared among patients who underwent bilateral mastectomy (BM), unilateral mastectomy (UM), breast-conserving surgery (BCS), and BCS first (BCS followed by re-excision or mastectomy) and between procedures during different time periods. Multivariable logistic regression, adjusted for patient and tumor factors, was used to determine whether surgery type was associated with a regret score in the highest quartile range.
      The survey was completed by 2148 women, 1525 (71.0%) of whom reported their surgery choice and answered all questions on the regret scale. The mean age of the participants was 50 years, and the median year of surgery was 2014. The median decision regret score for all the patients was 5 (interquartile range [IQR], 0-20) on a 100-point scale. The regret score of 342 participants (22.4%) was 25 or higher (BCS, 20.2%; BCS first, 31.9%; UM, 30.8%; BM, 15.4%; p < 0.001). In the multivariable analysis, BM was associated with less regret than UM (odds ratio [OR], 0.40 (range, 0.27-0.58); p < 0.001), BCS (OR, 0.56 (range, 0.38-0.83; p = 0.003), or BCS first (OR, 0.32; range, 0.21-0.49; p < 0.001). During the three periods analyzed (2009-2012, 2013-2016, and 2017-2020), the BM and BCS patients had the lowest regret scores of all the surgical types.
      Decision regret was low among the patients undergoing breast cancer surgery but lowest among the BM patients after adjustment for clinical and tumor factors including complications.
      PMID: 34432189 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
    • The Impact of Radiotherapy Delay in Breast Conservation Patients Not Receiving Chemotherapy and the Rationale for Dichotomizing the Radiation Oncology Time-Dependent Standard into Two Quality Measures.

      Annals of surgical oncology 2022 Jan

      Authors: Bleicher RJ
      The Commission on Cancer/National Quality Forum breast radiotherapy quality measure establishes that for women < 70 years, adjuvant radiotherapy after breast conserving surgery (BCS) should be started < 1 year from diagnosis. This was intended to prevent accidental radiotherapy omission or delay due to a long interval between surgery and chemotherapy completion, when radiation is delivered. However, the impact on patients not receiving chemotherapy, who proceed from surgery directly to radiotherapy, remains unknown.
      Patients aged 18-69, diagnosed with stage I-III breast cancer as their first and only cancer diagnosis (2004-2016), having BCS, for whom this measure would be applicable, were reviewed from the National Cancer Database.
      Among 308,521 patients, the median age was 57.0 years, and > 99% of all patients were compliant with the measure. The cohort of interest included 186,650 (60.5%) patients not receiving chemotherapy, with a mean age of 57.9 years. Of these, 90.5% received external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) and 9.5% brachytherapy. Among them, 24.9% started radiotherapy > 8 weeks after surgery. In a multivariable model, delay from surgery to radiotherapy increased the hazard ratios for overall survival to 9.0% (EBRT) per month and 3.0% (brachytherapy) per week.
      While 99.9% of patients undergoing BCS without chemotherapy remain compliant with the current quality measure, 25% have delays > 8 weeks to start radiation, which is associated with impaired survival. These data suggest that the current quality measure should be dichotomized into two, with or without chemotherapy, in order to impel prompt radiotherapy initiation and maximize outcomes in all patients.
      PMID: 34324114 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
    • Improving the Breast Surgeon's Ergonomic Workload for Nipple-Sparing Mastectomies Using Exercise and Operating Room Positioning Protocol.

      Annals of surgical oncology 2021 Oct

      Authors: Kopkash K
      The objective of this study was to examine whether an exercise program and standardized operating room positioning protocol (EOPP) would improve surgeon muscle workload and/or surgeon perception of mental/physical workload for nipple-sparing mastectomy (NSM).
      This prospective study analyzed muscle workload by EMG of four surgeons performing NSM before and after an EOPP. Surveys were administered assessing surgeon perception of mental/physical workload. EMG data were analyzed using repeated-measures ANOVA, controlling for surgeon, first assistant, duration and difficulty of procedure, left or right side, and sequence of the procedure.
      A total of 56 NSM cases performed by 3 surgeons were analyzed. One surgeon was excluded because of muscle injury and undergoing active physical therapy during the study period. After implementation of the EOPP, the left (P = 0.005) and right (P = 0.020) upper trapezii muscles had a significant decrease in overall ergonomic workload but there was no significant change in overall ergonomic workload for the bilateral cervical erector spinae, anterior deltoid, and lumbar erector spinae muscle groups. When analyzing muscle group exertion by surgeon, there was significant variability in all muscles except the left cervical erector spinae. Following the EOPP, surgeons reported that the procedures were more physically (P = 0.01) and mentally (P = 0.002) demanding and visualization (P = 0.04) was worse. The breast laterality and sequence did not affect muscle exertion.
      An EOPP decreased the overall ergonomic workload of one muscle group for surgeons performing NSM but did not impact surgeon perception of mental/physical workload. Further investigation is needed to improve surgeon ergonomics.
      PMID: 34318384 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
  • In the News
    In the News

    Mar 2018

    Apr 2017

    Oct 2015

    Jul 2015

    Apr 2015

    Nov 2014

    Sep 2014

    May 2014

    Oct 2013

  • Social Media