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Race, Gender Affect Laryngeal Cancer Survival

Men, blacks do worse, as do those without private health insurance, study finds

THURSDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- A patient's sex and race, along with the type of treatment they receive, can impact their survival after a diagnosis of advanced laryngeal cancer, say U.S. researchers.

They analyzed data from a national cancer registry on more than 7,000 patients diagnosed with advanced laryngeal cancer between 1995 and 1998.

Of those patients, 53.6 percent had a total laryngectomy (removal of the larynx), 30.6 percent had radiation therapy (radiotherapy) alone, and 15.8 percent had combined chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

"Controlling for the other included factors, the radiotherapy and chemo-radiotherapy groups had lower odds of survival than did the total laryngectomy group. The increased risk associated with death is approximately 30 percent for the chemo-radiotherapy group and 60 percent for the radiotherapy group," wrote study authors Dr. Amy Y. Chen, of Emory University and the American Cancer Society, and Dr. Michael Halpern, of the American Cancer Society.

They also found that men were less likely to survive than women; patients with stage IV disease were less likely to survive than those with stage III disease; black patients were more likely to die than white patients; and uninsured patients or those with Medicaid, Medicare or other government health plan coverage were more likely to die than those with private health insurance.

"We do not believe that insurance status in this analysis represents differential treatment or quality of care for patients with advanced laryngeal cancer. Rather, insurance status is likely a proxy for multiple medical issues, including usual source of medical care, participation in screening and preventive care activities and exposure to related risk factors, including alcohol and/or tobacco use and poor diet, all of which can influence overall survival," the study authors wrote.

"In conclusion, this analysis demonstrates that total laryngectomy yields the highest likelihood of survival for patients with advanced laryngeal cancer," the researchers added.

The study was published in the December issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Cancer.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about treatment of laryngeal cancer.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, Dec. 17, 2007

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