Explaining Black-White Differences in Receipt of Recommended Colon Cancer Treatment

Department of Family Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-4982, USA.
Journal of the National Cancer Institute (Impact Factor: 12.58). 09/2005; 97(16):1211-20. DOI: 10.1093/jnci/dji241
Source: PubMed


Black-white disparities exist in receipt of recommended medical care, including colorectal cancer treatment. This retrospective cohort study examines the degree to which health systems (e.g., physician, hospital) factors explain black-white disparities in colon cancer care.
Data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program; Medicare claims; the American Medical Association Masterfile; and hospital surveys were linked to examine chemotherapy receipt after stage III colon cancer resection among 5294 elderly (> or = 66 years of age) black and white Medicare-insured patients. Logistic regression analysis was used to identify factors associated with black-white differences in chemotherapy use. All statistical tests were two-sided.
Black and white patients were equally likely to consult with a medical oncologist, but among patients who had such a consultation, black patients were less likely than white patients (59.3% versus 70.4%, difference = 10.9%, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 5.1% to 16.4%, P < .001) to receive chemotherapy. This black-white disparity was highest among patients aged 66-70 years (black patients 65.7%, white patients 86.3%, difference = 20.6%, 95% CI = 10.7% to 30.4%, P < .001) and decreased with age. The disparity among patients aged 66-70 years also remained statistically significant in the regression analysis. Overall, patient, physician, hospital, and environmental factors accounted for approximately 50% of the disparity in chemotherapy receipt among patients aged 66-70 years; surgical length of stay and neighborhood socioeconomic status accounted for approximately 27% of the disparity in this age group, and health systems factors accounted for 12%.
Black and white Medicare-insured colon cancer patients have an equal opportunity to learn about adjuvant chemotherapy from a medical oncologist but do not receive chemotherapy equally. Little disparity was explained by health systems; more was explained by illness severity, social support, and environment. Further qualitative research is needed to understand the factors that influence the lower receipt of chemotherapy by black patients.

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Available from: Stephen H Taplin, Oct 05, 2015
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    • "When present, disparity was present when comparing black, African-American, or nonwhite patients with white patients. 9,15,16,21,22,25,27 The most focused of these studies was published by Baldwin et al in 2005, who found that among patients ages 66 to 70 years, black patients received chemotherapy at a rate that was slightly less than that of white patients (adjusted relative risk of 0.88). 9 Their model adjusted for a broad range of patient factors, social factors, and environmental factors and still found a statistically significant effect based on race. "
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    ABSTRACT: Despite consensus regarding the benefits of chemotherapy for stage III colon cancer, multiple reports have found significant variations in rates of use. In the current study, the authors attempted to systematically review reports of the community rates at which chemotherapy is administered for stage III colon cancer in the US, and in so doing plan strategies for improving rates of use. A systematic search strategy was undertaken using MEDLINE, Web of Science, and bibliographies to find reports of the rates at which patients with stage III colon cancer receive chemotherapy. A total of 22 studies published since 1990 were identified, with rates of chemotherapy use ranging from 39% to 71%. Age and comorbidity were found to be the most significant patient factors, but studies also found racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in the rates of chemotherapy. Patients treated at teaching hospitals did not clearly receive chemotherapy more often. Oncologists and surgeons who treat a higher volume of colorectal cancer patients were more likely to have chemotherapy initiated in their patients. The authors developed a conceptual model of the process pathway experienced by patients with stage III colon cancer to demonstrate areas of potential underuse of chemotherapy. Nearly half of patients with stage III chemotherapy in the US do not receive chemotherapy. Although many patients are too old or frail to benefit appropriately, for many patients chemotherapy is simply not initiated. Attention needs to be focused on systematic approaches to prevent systems failures that result in underuse. Guidelines regarding chemotherapy use in elderly patients are especially important.
    Cancer 12/2008; 113(12):3279-89. DOI:10.1002/cncr.23958 · 4.89 Impact Factor
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    • "Williams has proposed that the persistently worse health outcomes among Blacks may be attributable to broader societal discrimination in neighborhoods (i.e., residential segregation) and in health care delivery (i.e., institutional discrimination) [97,98]. With regards to colorectal cancer survival, additional research in areas that have received less attention, such as structural and institutional barriers [75,77], and of factors that have been proposed recently as having significant impacts on survival, including physical activity [99,100] and vitamin D [101-103], is necessary to identify the factors and mechanisms leading to the poorer outcomes among US Blacks. Population-based cancer registry data continue to be an invaluable resource for identifying and addressing racial/ethnic health disparities, however, expansion of the data through collection of additional data items and/or linkage to other data sources [104] is necessary for looking beyond traditional explanations, particularly if we hope to be able to reduce disparities in cancer outcomes. "
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    ABSTRACT: Colorectal cancer, if detected early, has greater than 90% 5-year survival. However, survival has been shown to vary across racial/ethnic groups in the United States, despite the availability of early detection methods. This study evaluated the joint effects of sociodemographic factors, tumor characteristics, census-based socioeconomic status (SES), treatment, and comorbidities on survival after colorectal cancer among and within racial/ethnic groups, using the SEER-Medicare database for patients diagnosed in 1992-1996, and followed through 1999. Unadjusted colorectal cancer-specific mortality rates were higher among Blacks and Hispanic males than whites (relative rates (95% confidence intervals) = 1.34 (1.26-1.42) and 1.16 (1.04-1.29), respectively), and lower among Japanese (0.78 (0.70-0.88)). These patterns were evident for all-cause mortality, although the magnitude of the disparity was larger for colorectal cancer mortality. Adjustment for stage accounted for the higher rate among Hispanic males and most of the lower rate among Japanese. Among Blacks, stage and SES accounted for about half of the higher rate relative to Whites, and within stage III colon and stages II/III rectal cancer, SES completely accounted for the small differentials in survival between Blacks and Whites. Comorbidity did not appear to explain the Black-White differentials in colorectal-specific nor all-cause mortality, beyond stage, and treatment (surgery, radiation, chemotherapy) explained a very small proportion of the Black-White difference. The fully-adjusted relative mortality rates comparing Blacks to Whites was 1.14 (1.09-1.20) for all-cause mortality and 1.21 (1.14-1.29) for colorectal cancer specific mortality. The sociodemographic, tumor, and treatment characteristics also had different impacts on mortality within racial/ethnic groups. In this comprehensive analysis, race/ethnic-specific models revealed differential effects of covariates on survival after colorectal cancer within each group, suggesting that different strategies may be necessary to improve survival in each group. Among Blacks, half of the differential in survival after colorectal cancer was primarily attributable to stage and SES, but differences in survival between Blacks and Whites remain unexplained with the data available in this comprehensive, population-based, analysis.
    BMC Cancer 02/2007; 7(1):193. DOI:10.1186/1471-2407-7-193 · 3.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: IntroductionComplexity in decision making for cancer treatment arises from many factors. When considering how to treat patients, physicians prioritize factors such as stage of disease, patient age, and comorbid illnesses. However, physicians must balance these priorities with the patient’s preferences, quality of life, social responsibilities, and fear of uncertainty. Although these factors are important, physicians are often unable to effectively judge their patients’ preferences. Patients are often unable to fully understand their prognoses and the treatment intent. DiscussionThese differences influence how patients and physicians make treatment-related decisions. Partially due to these differences, patients are initially more likely than their physicians to accept greater risk for lesser benefit from treatment. As time progresses and as they experience treatment, a patient’s preference changes, yet little is known about this process since few studies have examined it in a prospective longitudinal manner. We present an overview of the literature related to patient and physician decision making and quality of life in patients with advanced cancer, and we propose approaches to future decision-making models in cancer treatment.
    Supportive Care Cancer 02/2009; 17(2):117-127. DOI:10.1007/s00520-008-0505-2 · 2.36 Impact Factor
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