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Blacks not receiving chemotherapy for rectal cancer, despite seeing cancer specialists
Date:5/13/2008

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Long-term survival after rectal cancer surgery is up to 20 percent worse for blacks than for whites. At the same time, the addition of chemotherapy and radiation is known to improve survival in all rectal cancer patients by as much as 20 percent. Researcher suspect the lack of treatment in blacks is largely driving the decreased survival.

We now know that the initial visit with an oncologist is not the barrier to treatment. Our next step is to better understand what are the human factors that contribute to this discrepancy. Were interested in hearing what individual people have to say, Morris says.

Her next study will include focus groups of people who have been treated for colorectal cancer to understand how they reached the decision to have chemotherapy or whether they feel they made a decision at all. The researchers suspect treatment discrepancies may be due in part to social differences and priorities among populations, such as patient preferences or access to resources including transportation or family care.

Choice is important. If theres a choice, this maybe isnt a disparity but a preference. But if its not a choice, then we need to understand the barriers and find solutions, Morris says.


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Contact: Nicole Fawcett
nfawcett@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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