April 14, 2009

Race Plays Role in Lung Cancer Treatment

Your race may determine what kind of treatment you'll receive if you develop lung cancer.

According to a new study, black patients with lung cancer are less likely to receive recommended chemotherapy and surgery than white patients with the disease.

Researchers from the University of Texas School of Public Health looked at data from more than 83,000 patients who were diagnosed with lung cancer between 1991 and 2002. The patients were 65 years of age or older. Results revealed black patients were 37 percent less likely than white patients to receive recommended surgery and 42 percent less likely to receive recommended chemotherapy. Black patients in the later stages of the disease were 57 percent less likely to receive recommended chemotherapy than whites.

The study also showed older patients, women and those with lower incomes also experienced disparities in treatment.

Authors of the study write, "Efforts should focus on the appropriate quality treatment and educating blacks on the value of having these treatments to reduce these disparities in receipt of treatment for non-small cell lung cancer."

They suggest this will help black lung cancer patients experience similar survival rates as those that white patients experience.

Source: Cancer, May 15, 2009