Racial disparities in stage-specific colorectal cancer mortality rates

June 28, 2017

The data indicates that black-white disparities in colorectal cancer mortality increased for each stage of the disease, and that the overall disparity in overall mortality was largely driven by trends for late stage disease. "The widening racial disparity for distant stage has a disproportionate impact on overall CRC mortality disparities because distant stage accounts for approximately 60% of the overall black-white mortality disparity," write the authors.

As to why, the authors cite differences in early detection and differences in treatment. African Americans have historically been less likely than whites to be screened for colorectal cancer. In addition, African Americans who are screened often lack timely follow-up. Meanwhile, studies show the dissemination of improvements in treatment has been uneven. Despite its known survival benefit, adjuvant chemotherapy treatment rates among African American patients with colorectal cancer are disproportionately low relative to whites.

Source: American Cancer Society