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Insured Blacks Still at High Risk of Colorectal Cancer Death

May be due to differences in tumor stage, lower likelihood of receiving surgery

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Blacks with health insurance still have a higher risk of dying from colorectal cancer, which may be due to differences in tumor stage and the lower likelihood of receiving surgery, according to study findings published online Dec. 21 in Cancer.

Chyke A. Doubeni, M.D., from the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Mass., and colleagues examined factors associated with surviving colorectal cancer and their association with race in 10,585 whites, 1,479 blacks, 985 Hispanics and 909 Asian/Pacific Islanders. All patients had health insurance.

The researchers found that compared with whites, the risk of death from colorectal cancer was higher in blacks (hazard ratio, 1.17), similar in Hispanics (HR, 1.04), and lower in Asian/Pacific Islanders (HR, 0.89). However, adjusting for tumor stage and surgery reduced the risk of death in blacks (HR, 1.06), who were more likely than whites to have distant or unstaged tumors and less likely to receive surgery. In contrast, adjusting for the same factors had no effect on the risk in Hispanics and Asian/Pacific Islanders.

"The relation between race and survival from colorectal cancer was complex and appeared to be related to differences in tumor stage and therapy received, even in insured populations," Doubeni and colleagues conclude.

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