Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cancer survival disparities for most minority populations increase as cancers become more treatable

Date:
December 22, 2009
Source:
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Summary:
Racial and ethnic disparities in cancer survival are greatest for cancers that can be detected early and treated successfully, including breast and prostate cancer. Disparities are small or nonexistent for cancers that have more limited early detection and treatment options, such as pancreatic and lung cancer.

Racial and ethnic disparities in cancer survival are greatest for cancers that can be detected early and treated successfully, including breast and prostate cancer, according to a study by researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC) at Columbia University Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Disparities are small or nonexistent for cancers that have more limited early detection and treatment options, such as pancreatic and lung cancer.

The findings, published in the October 2009 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention, highlight the need to develop specific health policies and interventions to address social disparities.

Although prior studies have focused on factors that contribute to disparities in specific cancers, the Mailman School researchers' goal in this study was to understand why racial/ethnic disparities emerge in some cancers but not others. The study used data from more than 580,000 cancer cases in the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) registries to compare racial/ethnic differences in survival across a spectrum of cancers, classified according to their five-year relative survival rates as a measure of how amenable each cancer is to medical interventions. The authors hypothesized that racial/ethnic disparities increase as medical interventions improve overall survival because individuals with more socioeconomic resources are in a better position to exploit medical advances to protect their health.

The results found that, as compared with whites, substantial survival disparities existed in more treatable cancers in African-Americans, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Hispanics, and several subgroups of the Asian/Pacific Islander population.

"Our findings may seem counterintuitive at first since medical advances in the last few decades have resulted in substantial improvements in cancer survival for most racial/ethnic population groups. However, this enhanced capacity to successfully treat certain cancers, when combined with the social disadvantage faced by many minorities, can lead to greater relative differences in cancer survival by race and ethnicity," said Parisa Tehranifar, DrPH, assistant professor of Epidemiology, a member of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC) at Columbia University Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and the Mailman School of Public Health's Center for the Study of Social Inequalities in Health and lead author of the paper.

"If we are correct in our interpretation that these disparities emerge as a result of greater utilization of available interventions by socially advantaged groups, it follows that interventions that are easy to access and use, and do not rely heavily on personal resources such as educational and income levels, may have the greatest potential for reducing cancer and other health disparities," noted Dr. Tehranifar.

"Our cancer prevention and treatment efforts should continue to advance our public health and medical capacity for lowering the burden of cancer and mortality. However, we must also pay close attention to how the benefits of our medical advances are distributed in the population, and implement specific strategies that can reduce cancer disparities," said Mary Beth Terry, PhD, associate professor of Epidemiology, a co-leader of the Cancer Epidemiology Program at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC) at Columbia University Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, and senior author of the paper.

Supported by a Lance Armstrong Foundation Young Investigator Award and a postdoctoral fellowship from the National Cancer Institute, the research was done in collaboration with: Dr. Alfred I. Neugut, MD, PhD; Myron Studner Professor of Cancer Research in the Department of Medicine and professor of Epidemiology, and leader of the Prevention, Control & Disparities Program at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC) at Columbia University Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital; Jo C. Phelan, PhD, associate professor of Sociomedical Sciences; and Bruce G. Link, PhD, professor of Sociomedical Sciences and Epidemiology. Drs. Phelan and Link are also co-directors of Mailman School's Center for the Study of Social Inequalities and Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. "Cancer survival disparities for most minority populations increase as cancers become more treatable." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091217133734.htm>.
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. (2009, December 22). Cancer survival disparities for most minority populations increase as cancers become more treatable. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091217133734.htm
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. "Cancer survival disparities for most minority populations increase as cancers become more treatable." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091217133734.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins