-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, Oct. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Black Americans who have
surgery for stage 2 and stage 3 colon cancer have worse overall and
recurrence-free survival rates than whites, a new study finds.
Researchers analyzed data from nearly 15,000 black and white
colorectal cancer surgery patients who took part in 12 clinical
trials conducted in North America between 1977 and 2002. All the
patients received the same adjuvant -- or additional -- colon
cancer therapy after surgery.
Over five years, black patients had a 4.6 percent lower overall
survival rate and a 3.7 percent lower recurrence-free survival
Black patients, however, did have a similar recurrence-free
interval, or the time in which they were cancer-free before seeing
their cancer return, as whites.
The survival differences between black and white patients are
mostly likely due to factors unrelated to a patient's response to
post-surgical treatment, said Greg Yothers, of the U.S. National
Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project Biostatistical Center,
"Biological differences, differences in general health, and disparities in health care outside the clinical trial are possible explanations for these findings," the researchers wrote in a journal news release.
Staging indicates how far cancer has spread.
The study is published Oct. 12 in the
Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
The findings are consistent with other studies published in the
last decade, Dr. Olufunmilayo Olopade, director of the Center for
Clinical Cancer Genetics & Global Health at the University of
Chicago, and colleagues wrote in an accompanying editorial.
They said future studies must include information on patients'
socio-demographic status, tumor biology and other health
conditions. They added that primary care of colon cancer survivors
should be improved and monitored in order to learn more about
differences in survival after cancer recurrence, and that
race-specific enrollment targets may be required for trials
examining genetic markers.
Despite overall improvements in colorectal cancer survival in
the United States, five-year survival rates between 1999 and 2005
were 57 percent for blacks and 68 percent for whites.
The American Cancer Society has more about
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