Blacks, Hispanics Among Women Least Likely To Receive Comprehensive Surgery for Ovarian Cancer, Study Finds
One in three women with ovarian cancer does not receive the recommended comprehensive surgery, and blacks, Hispanics, women over age 70 and Medicaid beneficiaries with the disease particularly are likely to be undertreated, according to a study published Monday in the journal Cancer, Reuters/Washington Post reports (Reuters/Washington Post, 4/9). For the study, lead researcher Barbara Goff, director of the division of gynecologic oncology at the University of Washington-Seattle, and colleagues analyzed hospital data from 1999 to 2002 from nine states (HealthDay/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 4/9). Previous research has indicated that aggressive surgery and chemotherapy are most effective in treating ovarian cancer (Reuters/Washington Post, 4/9). In addition, women who receive treatment from specialists have better survival rates. Researchers found that of the 10,432 ovarian cancer cases reviewed, 67% of women received recommended comprehensive surgical procedures. In addition, one-third of the women received treatment at hospitals that performed fewer than 10 ovarian cancer surgeries a year. Hospitals performing more than 10 such procedures annually are considered superior, according to HealthDay/Journal-Constitution. Nearly 50% received treatment from a surgeon who performed fewer than 10 procedures annually (HealthDay/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 4/9). The researchers said, "All ovarian cancer patients -- especially those who are vulnerable because of age, race or socioeconomic status -- (should be) referred to centers or surgeons from whom they are more likely to get optimal surgery" (Reuters/Washington Post, 4/9). An abstract of the study is available online.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.