Black lung cancer patients less likely to receive chemotherapy, surgery than whites

April 13th, 2009 - 5:04 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, April 13 (ANI): A new study has shed light on racial disparities in the treatment of lung cancer between black and white patients.

Dr. Dale Hardy, of the University of Texas School of Public Health, has found that black lung cancer patients are less likely to receive recommended chemotherapy and surgery than white lung cancer patients.

He says that this disparity is showing no signs of lessening.

His findings indicate that efforts are needed to provide appropriate treatments for black patients, and to educate them about the value of those treatments.

Hardy and his colleagues analysed data from 83,101 patients, aged 65 or more, who were diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer, the most common type of lung cancer, between 1991 and 2002.

The researchers looked for racial differences in treatment, the first attempt to address the changes in receipt of treatment over time for this disease.

They found that for patients with early lung cancer, blacks were 37 percent less likely than whites to receive recommended surgery and 42 percent less likely to receive recommended chemotherapy.

For patients with later stage of the disease, blacks were 57 percent less likely to receive recommended chemotherapy than whites.

The researchers further noted that older patients, women, and those with lower socio-economic status also experienced greater disparities in receiving treatment.

Hardy pointed out that lung cancer treatment disparities were just as large in 2002 as they were in the early 1990s, despite efforts to address inequalities in medical treatment.

He insisted that his team’s findings added to a large and growing body of research indicating that significant steps were needed to ensure equal cancer-related care for all races.

“Efforts should focus on the appropriate quality treatment and educating blacks on the value of having these treatments to reduce these disparities in receipt of treatment for non-small cell lung cancer,” write the authors, adding that only then will black lung cancer patients experience similar survival rates and quality of life as white patients.

The study has been published in the journal Cancer. (ANI)

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