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Racial Disparities In Colorectical Cancer Survival Dissipate After Adjusting For Other Demographic And Clinical Factors

July 13, 2009

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third leading cause of cancer death in both men and women and the second leading cause of cancer death when both sexes are combined. African Americans have lower survival rates compared to whites. Researchers at Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, in Detroit, Michigan in Detroit sought to investigate the effect of demographics, clinical factors and socioeconomic status (SES) on racial disparities in CRC survival in the Detroit Metropolitan Area. The study population included 9,078 individuals with primary invasive CRC identified between 1988 and 1992 through the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program. They found African Americans were more likely to be diagnosed with stage IV disease and to reside within poor census tracts compared to whites. After adjusting for age, marital status, gender, SES group, stage, and treatment, race was no longer significantly associated with overall survival. Similar results were seen with CRC-specific survival. They conclude racial disparities in CRC survival dissipate after adjusting for other demographic and clinical factors. These results can potentially affect medical guidelines regarding screening and treatment, and possibly influence public health policies that can have a positive impact on equalizing racial differences in access to care.

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