A new study has found that insurance coverage and the distance to a doctor’s office has an effect on the likelihood of breast cancer patients having reconstruction surgery after breast removal.

Researchers revealed that after analyzing data among nearly 5,400 women in North Carolina who were diagnosed with breast cancer, only 20 percent had breast reconstruction surgery within two years of their mastectomy, according to Tucson.com.

The study seems to express a correlation that those with private health insurance were more likely to have breast reconstruction done compared to those who are in U.S. government insurance programs. Medicare members were 42 percent less likely to follow through with the surgery compared to private patients. Meanwhile, Medicaid holders were 76 percent less likely to have the procedure done.

The University of North Carolina research team also discovered that women who lived 10 to 20 miles away from their plastic surgeon’s office were 22 percent less likely to have the reconstruction surgery compared with women who live within 10 miles of the office. Patients who lived 20 miles or more away were 27 percent less likely to go.

In the August issue of the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery journal, research showed that minority patients were 50 percent less likely than whites to have breast reconstruction surgery done. An earlier study found that older age, advanced cancer and radiation treatment were also factors associated with a lower likelihood of breast reconstruction surgery

Dr. Michelle Roughton addressed the difficulties that breast cancer patients face post operation in the university news release. She said, "We know that breast cancer affects not only the physical well-being of the patient, but also her psychosocial well-being, and we know that breast reconstruction can help address those issues."

To learn more about breast reconstruction surgery, visit the U.S. National Cancer Institute.