MONDAY, Oct. 20, 2008 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of death for someone with non-Hodgkin lymphoma increases if one is poor but decreases if the person receives chemotherapy, a new study shows.
The report, published in the Dec. 1 issue of Cancer, finds that socioeconomic status and treatment are the key reasons that blacks tend to have a higher risk of death from the disease than whites.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a common cancer for the elderly, has been on the rise in recent years.
Researchers from the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston, analyzing data for more than 13,000 patients diagnosed at age 65 or older between 1992 and 1999, found chemotherapy prolonged survival in these patients, while poor socioeconomic status was tied to an increased risk of mortality.
Elderly white patients were more likely to receive chemotherapy (52.4 percent) than their black counterparts (43.2 percent). A larger proportion of these black patients were found to live in poor communities.
No major differences in the risk of death were apparent between whites and blacks once treatment and socioeconomic status were eliminated from the analysis.
The National Cancer Institute has more about non-Hodgkin lymphoma.