Researchers Find Survival, Treatment Disparities Between Black and White Kidney Cancer Patients
Older black and white renal cell cancer patients do not receive the same treatment or have the same survival outcomes, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Reuters Health reports. For the study, Sonja Berndt of the National Cancer Institute and colleagues examined data on 964 black and 10,482 white Medicare beneficiaries with renal cell cancer.
While five-year survival rates for whites with renal cell cancer improved in recent years, the rates for blacks have not changed much, researchers found. According to the study, blacks with renal cell cancer survive a median 2.5 years, compared with 3.2 years among whites. The difference was eliminated after researchers adjusted for other illnesses patients had and the type of treatment they underwent.
Blacks were more likely than whites to have other illnesses besides kidney cancer, the study said. Further, 61% of blacks had surgery to remove their kidneys, compared with 70% of whites. Among renal cell cancer patients who had their kidneys removed, blacks had worse survival rates than whites. However, blacks who did not undergo the surgery had better survival rates than whites who did not undergo the surgery.
According to the study, "Although the reasons for the disparity in treatment are not entirely clear and need to be examined in future studies, this study suggests black patients may benefit from efforts to improve the availability of health care and interventions to reduce comorbid illness" (Reuters Health, 9/7).
An abstract of the study is available online.