Racial Gap Persists in Cancer Care
Study Shows No Narrowing of Cancer Care Racial Disparity Among White and African-American Medicare Patients
WebMD News Archive
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
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
Throughout the study, African-Americans were less likely to get cancer
treatment -- including cancer surgery, 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
The results are due to appear in the Feb. 15, 2008 edition of