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 18 February 2018

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News

Racial disparities in rectal cancer treatment

Rectal cancer is diagnosed at a younger age and a more advanced stage in black patients, than in whites, find doctors in the February issue of the Archives of Surgery.

News image

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In this study, doctors from the United States assessed surgical and radiation treatment in rectal cancer patients from differing racial groups.

The team used the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results database to identify rectal cancer patients who were diagnosed between 1988 and 1999. Patients were over 35 years of age and had no prior colorectal or pelvic cancer.

The team compared receipt and type of surgical and radiation therapy, controlling for age, sex, year, geography, stage, and anatomic location.
53% of whites and 56% of blacks received no radiation therapy.
Archives of Surgery

Overall, the study looked at 52,864 patients. Of these, 3851 were black and 44,010 were white.

The team determined that black patients were younger than whites and had more advanced disease.

They found that among patients who underwent operation, 37% of whites and 43% of blacks underwent sphincter-ablating procedure.

They also found that 53% of whites and 56% of blacks received no radiation therapy for stage II to III disease.

Dr Arden Morris's team concluded, "Blacks with rectal cancer were diagnosed at a younger age and more advanced disease stage than whites, implying a need for more aggressive screening".

"After adjusting for stage and other covariates, surgical and radiation treatment also differed along racial lines".

"Our data suggest that treatment disparities may contribute to differences in outcome among racial/ethnic groups with rectal cancer".

"They highlight the need for improving access to state-of-the-art surgical care for minority patients with rectal cancer".

Arch Surg 2004; 139: 151-5
11 February 2004

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