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News

Racial disparities in colon cancer treatment

September's issue of the Diseases of the Colon & Rectum identifies racial disparities in colon cancer treatment in an Equal-Access Healthcare System?

News image

In the general US population, blacks and whites have been shown to undergo colon cancer treatment at disproportionate rates.

Accessibility to medical care may be the most important factor influencing differences in colon cancer treatment rates among whites and blacks.

Dr Abegail Gill and colleagues assessed whether racial disparities in colon cancer surgery and chemotherapy existed in an equal-access health care system.

In addition, the team examined whether racial differences varied according to demographic and tumor characteristics.

When access to medical care is equal, racial disparities were not apparent
Diseases of the Colon & Rectum

The team performed a database research using the Department of Defense Military Health System.

Patients included 2560 non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks with colon cancer diagnosed from 1998 to 2007.

Logistic regression was used to assess the associations between race and the receipt of colon cancer surgery or chemotherapy while controlling for available potential confounders, both overall and stratified by age at diagnosis, sex, and tumor stage.

The researchers found that the odds of receiving colon cancer surgery or chemotherapy for non-Hispanic blacks versus non-Hispanic whites were similar.

In addition, the team observed no effect modifications by age at diagnosis, sex, and tumor stage.

Dr Gill's team comment,s "When access to medical care is equal, racial disparities in the provision of colon cancer surgery and chemotherapy were not apparent."

"Thus, it is possible that the inequalities in access to care play a major role in the racial disparities seen in colon cancer treatment in the general population."

Dis Colon Rectum 2014: 57(9): 1059–1065
19 August 2014

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