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Hospital Factors Affect Cancer Outcome in African-Americans

Last Updated: August 24, 2009.

Racial disparities in breast and colon cancer outcomes are strongly associated with hospital factors such as quality, according to a report published in the Aug. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

MONDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Racial disparities in breast and colon cancer outcomes are strongly associated with hospital factors such as quality, according to a report published in the Aug. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Tara M. Breslin, M.D., of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues used the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results-Medicare linked database (1995 to 2005) to identify 25,571 breast cancer patients (9.7 percent African-American) and 22,168 colon cancer patients (11.8 percent African-American) treated in 436 hospitals.

The researchers found that five-year survival rates after surgery in breast and colon cancer were significantly lower among African-American patients (62.1 and 41.3 percent, respectively) than among Caucasian patients (70.4 and 45.4 percent, respectively), and that African-American race was an independent predictor of mortality for breast and colon cancer (adjusted hazard ratios, 1.25 and 1.13, respectively). Their adjusted analysis showed that hospital factors accounted for a significant amount of the excess mortality (36 percent for breast cancer and 54 percent for colon cancer).

"Further research in this area should aim to understand which aspects of standard treatment are poorly delivered or absent within hospitals that disproportionately serve minority patients," the authors write. "Perhaps more importantly, researchers should delineate better the obstacles to cancer treatment in these hospitals."

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