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 Get Directions This location is wheelchair accessible.

    NorthShore Medical Group

    2650 Ridge Ave.
    Kellogg Cancer Center
    Evanston, IL 60201
    847.570.1700 847.733.5298 fax Get Directions This location is wheelchair accessible.
  • Publications
    • 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]
    • ASO Visual Abstract: 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 2021 Aug 03

      Authors: Bleicher RJ
      PMID: 34346019 [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 2021 Jul 29

      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]
    • Covid-19 related oncologist's concerns about breast cancer treatment delays and physician well-being (the CROWN study).

      Breast cancer research and treatment 2021 Apr

      Authors: Yao KA
      To examine how treatment delays brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the physical and emotional well-being of physicians treating these patients.
      A cross-sectional survey of physician breast specialists was posted from April 23rd to June 11th, 2020 on membership list serves and social media platforms of the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers and the American Society of Breast Surgeons. Physician well-being was measured using 6 COVID-19 burnout emotions and the 4-item PROMIS short form for anxiety and sleep disturbance. We examined associations between treatment delays and physician well-being, adjusting for demographic factors, COVID-19 testing and ten COVID-19 pandemic concerns.
      870 physicians completed the survey, 61% were surgeons. The mean age of physicians was 52 and 548 (63.9%) were female. 669 (79.4%) reported some delay in patient care as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 384 (44.1%) and 529 (60.8%) of physicians scored outside normal limits for anxiety and sleep disturbance, respectively. After adjusting for demographic factors and COVID-19 testing, mean anxiety and COVID-19 burnout scores were significantly higher among physicians whose patients experienced either delays in surgery, adjuvant chemotherapy, radiation, breast imaging or specialty consultation. A multivariable model adjusting for ten physician COVID-19 concerns and delays showed that "delays will impact my emotional well-being" was the strongest concern associated with anxiety, sleep disturbance and COVID-19 burnout factors.
      Breast cancer treatment delays during the initial surge of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States were associated with a negative impact on physician emotional wellness.
      PMID: 33517522 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
    • Uptake of Breast Cancer Clinical Trials at Minority Serving Cancer Centers.

      Annals of surgical oncology 2021 Sep

      Authors: Kantor O
      Most minorities receive cancer care at minority-serving hospitals (MSHs) that have been associated with disparate treatment between Black and White patients.
      Our aim was to examine the uptake of clinical trials that have changed axillary management in breast cancer patients at MSH and non-MSH cancer centers.
      The National Cancer Database was used to identify patients eligible for the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group Z0011 and Z1071 trials, and mastectomy patients fulfilling the European AMAROS trial. Uptake of trial results (omission of axillary lymph node dissection) was analyzed between patients treated at MSHs and non-MSHs and adjusted for patient, tumor, and facility factors. MSHs were defined as the top decile of hospitals according to the proportion of Black and Hispanic patients treated.
      Of 7167 patients eligible for Z0011, 4546 for Z0171, and 9433 for AMAROS from 2015 to 2016, clinical trial uptake was seen in 1195 (74.6%) MSH and 4056 (72.9%) non-MSH patients (p = 0.173) for Z0011, 588 (41.9%) MSH and 1366 (43.5%) non-MSH patients for Z1071 (p = 0.302), and 272 (11.7%) MSH and 996 (14.0%) non-MSH patients (p = 0.005) for AMAROS. On adjusted analyses, MSH status was not significant for uptake of any of the three trials. Black race, socioeconomic status, and insurance were not associated with clinical trial uptake.
      The uptake of three landmark clinical trials of axillary management in breast cancer was not different at MSH and non-MSH centers despite adjustment for social determinants of health. At the Commission on Cancer-accredited centers in this analysis, MSH status did not affect the uptake of evidence-based care.
      PMID: 33423122 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
    • Patient-reported outcomes among women with unilateral breast cancer undergoing breast conservation versus single or double mastectomy.

      Breast cancer research and treatment 2021 Jan

      Authors: Pesce C
      More women with unilateral early stage breast cancer are electing bilateral mastectomy (BM). Many cite anxiety, fear of recurrence, and certain aesthetic desires in their decision-making. Yet conflicting data exist regarding how these factors both inform and are modulated by medical decision-making, especially among women eligible for breast conservation (BCT). This study sought to assess the trajectories of women undergoing various surgical procedures for breast cancer.
      We performed a prospective longitudinal study of women with unilateral, non-hereditary breast cancer who underwent BCT, unilateral mastectomy (UM), or BM. Women completed surveys before surgery and at 1, 9, and 15 months postop. Surveys included questions about treatment preferences, decisional control, the HADS-A anxiety scale, the Fear of Relapse/Recurrence Scale (FRRS), and the BREAST-Q. The Kruskal-Wallis test was used to compare outcomes between BCT, UM, and BM groups at each time point.
      203 women were recruited and 177 (87.2%) completed 15-month follow-up. Of these, 101 (57.0%) underwent BCT, 33 (18.6%) underwent UM, and 43 (24.2%) underwent BM. Generalized anxiety and FRRS scores were similar between BCT, UM, and BM groups and declined uniformly after surgery. Although baseline breast satisfaction was similar between groups, at 15 months, it was significantly lower in BM patients than in BCT patients. Women who felt "very" confident and "very" informed before surgery had lower anxiety, lower fear of recurrence, better psychosocial well-being (PSWB), and greater breast satisfaction at 15 months.
      While patients who undergo mastectomy have less long-term breast satisfaction, all patients can expect to experience similar improvements in anxiety and PSWB. Efforts should be made to ensure that patients are informed and confident regardless of which surgery is chosen, for this is the greatest predictor of better outcomes.
      PMID: 33033966 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
    • Virtual Surgical Fellowship Recruitment During COVID-19 and Its Implications for Resident/Fellow Recruitment in the Future.

      Annals of surgical oncology 2020 Dec

      Authors: Vining CC, Eng OS, Hogg ME, Schuitevoerder D, Silverman RS, Yao KA, Winchester DJ, Roggin KK, Talamonti MS, Posner MC, Turaga KK, Tseng J
      The COVID-19 pandemic has overlapped with the scheduled interview periods of over 20 surgical subspecialty fellowships, including the Complex General Surgical Oncology (CGSO) fellowships in the National Resident Matching Program and the Society of Surgical Oncology's Breast Surgical Oncology fellowships. We outline the successful implementation of and processes behind a virtual interview day for CGSO fellowship recruitment after the start of the pandemic.
      The virtual CGSO fellowship interview process at the University of Chicago Medicine and NorthShore University Health System was outlined and implemented. Separate voluntary, anonymous online secure feedback surveys were email distributed to interview applicants and faculty interviewers after the interview day concluded.
      Sixteen of 20 interview applicants (80.0%) and 12 of 13 faculty interviewers (92.3%) completed their respective feedback surveys. Seventy-five percent (12/16) of applicants and all faculty respondents (12/12) stated the interview process was 'very seamless' or 'seamless'. Applicants and faculty highlighted decreased cost, time savings, and increased efficiency as some of the benefits to virtual interviewing.
      Current circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic require fellowship programs to adapt and conduct virtual interviews. Our report describes the successful implementation of a virtual interview process. This report describes the technical steps and pitfalls of organizing such an interview and provides insights into the experience of the interviewer and interviewee.
      PMID: 32424589 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
    • Recommendations for prioritization, treatment, and triage of breast cancer patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. the COVID-19 pandemic breast cancer consortium.

      Breast cancer research and treatment 2020 Jun

      Authors: Dietz JR
      The COVID-19 pandemic presents clinicians a unique set of challenges in managing breast cancer (BC) patients. As hospital resources and staff become more limited during the COVID-19 pandemic, it becomes critically important to define which BC patients require more urgent care and which patients can wait for treatment until the pandemic is over. In this Special Communication, we use expert opinion of representatives from multiple cancer care organizations to categorize BC patients into priority levels (A, B, C) for urgency of care across all specialties. Additionally, we provide treatment recommendations for each of these patient scenarios. Priority A patients have conditions that are immediately life threatening or symptomatic requiring urgent treatment. Priority B patients have conditions that do not require immediate treatment but should start treatment before the pandemic is over. Priority C patients have conditions that can be safely deferred until the pandemic is over. The implementation of these recommendations for patient triage, which are based on the highest level available evidence, must be adapted to current availability of hospital resources and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic in each region of the country. Additionally, the risk of disease progression and worse outcomes for patients need to be weighed against the risk of patient and staff exposure to SARS CoV-2 (virus associated with the COVID-19 pandemic). Physicians should use these recommendations to prioritize care for their BC patients and adapt treatment recommendations to the local context at their hospital.
      PMID: 32333293 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
    • Differences in physician opinions about controversial issues surrounding contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM): A survey of physicians from accredited breast centers in the United States.

      Cancer medicine 2020 05

      Authors: Yao K
      Indications and insurance coverage for contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM) and CPM as a quality measure are controversial. Few studies have examined physician opinions on these issues.
      A cross-sectional survey of multi-specialty physicians at the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers from 2017-2018 examined opinions on insurance coverage for CPM, CPM as a quality measure, and indications for CPM. A multivariate logistic regression was used to assess physician and facility factors associated with likelihood to recommend CPM.
      Of 2412 physicians, 1226 responded from 382 facilities for a physician response rate of 50.8%. There were 300 (24.5%) medical oncologists, 316 (25.8%) radiation oncologists, 248 (20.2%) plastic surgeons, and 322 (26.3%) oncologic or general surgeons. Three hundred and ninety-eight (37%) physicians favor insurance coverage for all patients and 520 (46.6%) for patients at average CBC risk. Four hundred and fifty (40%) of all physicians felt physician specific rates of CPM should be a hospital quality measure. BRCA deleterious mutation carrier status was the most common indication to recommend CPM (n = 1043; 92%) and 684 (60.2%) physicians discourage CPM for average contralateral risk (CBC) patients. After adjusting for physician and facility factors, the only significant predictor of higher likelihood to recommend CPM for average CBC risk patients were plastics surgeons (OR = 8.3 (95%CI 2.4-29.1)) P = .0009).
      There is consensus among physicians on the most appropriate indication for CPM but opinions vary on CPM as a quality measure and insurance coverage for CPM. These findings can help guide discussions on CPM among a multidisciplinary team of physicians.
      PMID: 32159280 [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