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Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Cancer Survival

J Clin Oncol; ePub 2017 Oct 16; Ellis, et al

Racial/ethnic cancer survival disparities in breast, prostate, colorectal, and lung cancers are driven largely by blacks compared with whites, researchers concluded after conducting a study involving patients with cancer from the California Cancer Registry. Investigators estimated cancer-related survival for participants with breast, prostate, colorectal, or lung cancer between 2000 and 2013, and compared data for various ethnicities vs whites. Among the results:

  • Blacks had the lowest survival for all cancer types when compared with whites.
  • Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders had the highest survival.
  • Stage at diagnosis accounted for 24% of disparities in breast cancer, 24% in prostate cancer, and 16% to 30% in colorectal cancer.
  • Neighborhood socioeconomic status was an important factor in all cancers for blacks and Hispanics.  
  • The impact of marital status on racial/ethnic disparities was stronger in men than in women.
  • Adjusting for covariables explained ~half of the overall survival disparities in breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer, but only 15% to 40% of lung cancer disparities.

Ellis L, Canchola A, Spiegel D, Ladabaum U, Haile R, Gomez S. Racial and ethnic disparities in cancer survival: The contribution of tumor, sociodemographic, institutional, and neighborhood characteristics. [Published online ahead of print October 16, 2017]. J Clin Oncol. doi:10.1200/JCO.2017.74.2049.

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