Class May Drive Colon Cancer Race Gap
Social, Economic Factors May Largely Explain Black-White Gap in Colon Cancer Survival Rates
WebMD News Archive
April 23, 2007 -- Colon cancer survival rates are worse for blacks than
whites, and that may largely be due to social and economic factors, according
to a new research review.
The reviewers, who work in Houston at the University of Texas Health Science
Center, included Xianglin Du, MD, PhD.
They note that colon cancer killed 27 per 100,000 blacks compared with 19
per 100,000 whites from 2000-2003 in the U.S. During the same period, the
five-year colon cancer survival rate was almost 55% for blacks, compared with
65% for whites.
Many factors may affect colon cancer survival rates, including genetics,
access to medical care, exposure to cancer-causing substances, and lifestyle
Du's team took a closer look at the black-white race gap in colon cancer
survival to gauge the influence of social and economic (socioeconomic)
The reviewers pooled data from 10 U.S. studies on colon cancer, race, and
Each study was designed differently. Together, the studies included more
than 96,400 people who were diagnosed with colon cancer from 1977-1997 who were
followed for up to 17 years.
Adjusting for socioeconomic factors and for colon cancer treatment erased
much of the black-white race gap in colon cancer survival rates.
The reviewers conclude that closing the social and economic gaps may narrow
the colon cancer survival race gap.
"Because treatment and socioeconomic factors are modifiable, efforts to
eliminate racial disparities in health care and to minimize disparities in
socioeconomic status have the potential to reduce racial inequalities in colon
cancer survival," write Du and colleagues.
Their report appears in the June 1, 2007 edition of Cancer.