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Blacks have less access to cancer specialists, treatment
Date:11/19/2013

ry tumor surgery, 17 percent less likely to receive chemotherapy and 30 percent less likely to receive radiotherapy. Among patients who received chemotherapy, white patients were more likely to receive more than one chemotherapy agent. The researchers noted that black patients typically received chemotherapy four days later than white patients. Chemotherapy was associated with a 66 percent decreased risk of death.

"Of note, our analysis found that 47 percent of the relative survival difference between black and white patients was attributable to treatment differences and, after accounting for these treatment differences, the race-based survival difference completely disappeared," wrote the study authors.

The study did not ascribe a specific cause for the racial disparities but offered six possible explanations: conscious or unconscious provider biases; patient mistrust; health literacy; patient-physician communication breakdown; healthcare access barriers; and/or race-based differences in disease biology.

"Further studies may answer the important question of why there are racial disparities in consults with cancer specialists and treatment among this population. The answers may lead to areas we can improve upon to close these gaps," said Murphy. "I suspect that this pattern of disparity could be present in other underserved minority groups as well."


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Contact: Yadira Galindo
ygalindo@ucsd.edu
619-543-6163
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert

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