Hispanics with early lung cancer have worse survival than whites, largely due to lower surgery rates and later diagnosis, according to a new study reported in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
“I think is important to make physicians aware of this issue and to remind them that these differences in treatment (either due to patient preferences or physician decision making) lead to poor outcomes of minority individuals,” said Dr. Juan P. Wisnivesky from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York.
Wisnivesky and his colleagues investigated disparities in early lung cancer treatment and survival between Hispanics and whites using national cancer data.
The 5-year survival rate for Hispanics was 54.2 percent, the report indicates, compared with 62.2 percent for whites. This difference may, in part, relate to the fact that Hispanics were less likely to undergo surgery.
“Future work should explore why Hispanics are less likely to undergo resection and more likely to present with more advanced…disease,” the authors conclude.
“Understanding these differences is important, because improving the detection at an early stage and improving the rate of surgical resection among Hispanics and other minorities may be a valuable means of improving the outcomes of patients with lung cancer and reducing ethnic disparities,” they add.
“We are planning to apply for funding to conduct a (forward-looking) study to look closer at these disparities in care,” Wisnivesky said.
SOURCE: American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, May 15, 2005.
Revision date: July 9, 2011
Last revised: by Andrew G. Epstein, M.D.