Blacks Less Likely Than Whites to Have Lung Cancer Surgery

-- Jane Parry

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Among patients with lung cancer, black patients are less likely than white patients to undergo recommended lung resection, but the disparity in treatment does not appear to have an impact on outcomes, according to research published in the January issue of the Archives of Surgery.

Farhood Farjah, M.D., of the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues conducted a study of 17,739 patients who were recommended for lung cancer resection, of whom 89 percent were white and 6 percent were black, with a mean age of 75 years.

Whereas 83 percent of white patients underwent lung resection, only 69 percent of black patients did so, the investigators found. Although 36 percent of blacks survived for five years, versus 42 percent of whites, once the data was adjusted for confounding factors, the differential became insignificant, the researchers report.

"Although these findings do not refute the likely roles of health care system and provider biases and patient characteristics as important causal factors underlying health disparities, the findings do suggest that other factors (i.e., distrust, perceptions and beliefs about lung cancer and its treatment, and limited access to subspecialty care) may have a more dominant role in causing disparities than previously recognized," the authors write. "The implication of these findings is that interventions designed to narrow gaps in health care should target structural aspects of care, providers, and patients and communities at risk for lung cancer and suboptimal care."

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Internal Medicine
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