Nearly one-half of the black-white survival disparity in colorectal cancer patients might be due to the difference in health insurance coverage.
The study, published in Gastroenterology, reinforces the importance of equitable health insurance coverage to mitigate the black-white survival disparity in colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women in the United States. Overall CRC incidence and mortality rates are decreasing in the United States as a result of earlier detection and improved treatments. Nonetheless, CRC incidence and mortality rates continue to be higher in blacks than in whites.
They found the absolute 5-year survival difference between black and white CRC patients in the entire cohort was 9.2% (57.3% vs 66.5%). That difference was cut almost in half, to 4.9%, after matching for insurance status. Tumor characteristics also played a large role. The survival difference dropped to 2.3% after tumor characteristics matching.
"These findings reinforce the importance of equitable health insurance coverage to mitigate the survival disparity between black versus white CRC patients in this age range and underscore the need for further studies to elucidate reasons for racial differences in tumor characteristics," write the authors.
In October, an American Cancer Society study found that differences in insurance explained one-third of the black-white difference in women with early-stage breast cancer.