Skip to content

    Cancer Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Racial Gap Persists in Cancer Care

    Study Shows No Narrowing of Cancer Care Racial Disparity Among White and African-American Medicare Patients
    By
    WebMD Health News
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

    Jan. 7, 2008 -- A racial gap persists in cancer care, with African-Americans less likely than whites to get cancer treatment through Medicare, a new study shows.

    Efforts to close that racial disparity in cancer care "have been unsuccessful," write Yale University's Cary Gross, MD, and colleagues, calling their findings "particularly disappointing."

    The researchers tracked cancer treatments among African-American and white Medicare patients diagnosed with lung, breast, colorectal, or prostate cancer between 1992 and 2002.

    Data were available for more than 82,000 prostate cancer patients, more than 40,000 breast cancer patients, some 11,200 lung cancer patients, and more than 9,000 colorectal cancer patients.

    Throughout the study, African-Americans were less likely to get cancer treatment -- including cancersurgery, chemotherapy, and radiation -- than whites. Other factors, such as social class and seeing a doctor in the year before cancer diagnosis, didn't fully explain the results.

    The racial disparity varied between cancer treatments.

    For instance, African-Americans were about 15% less likely than whites to get surgery for early-stage lung cancer. That's a much bigger gap than the 2% difference among African-Americans and whites who underwent breast cancer chemotherapy.

    The results are due to appear in the Feb. 15, 2008 edition of Cancer.

    Today on WebMD

    Colorectal cancer cells
    New! I AM Not Cancer Facebook Group
    Lung cancer xray
    See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
     
    sauteed cherry tomatoes
    Fight cancer one plate at a time.
    Ovarian cancer illustration
    Real Cancer Perspectives
     
    Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
    Blog
    what is your cancer risk
    HEALTH CHECK
     
    colorectal cancer treatment advances
    Video
    breast cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
     
    prostate cancer overview
    SLIDESHOW
    lung cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
     
    ovarian cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
    Actor Michael Douglas
    Article