Study: Even with Similar Cancer Treatment, African Americans Don’t Live as Long as Other Patients

Kerry Grens, Med City News, July 9, 2013

Despite receiving similar cancer treatment as other patients, African Americans with a common form of leukemia didn’t live as long in a new study that was aimed at understanding the racial disparity in cancer outcomes.

“We don’t have an answer” to explain it, said Dr. Alessandra Ferrajoli, the study’s senior author and an associate professor of medicine at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Though all patients received equal medical treatment, the black patients tended to have chromosome mutations and other characteristics that are known to be linked with a worse prognosis.

It’s likely “not related to the treatment,” Ferrajoli speculated, “it’s probably a different biology.”

Previous studies have found that African Americans are more likely to die from cancer than whites.

For instance, researchers reported last year that blacks have a greater chance of dying after a kidney cancer diagnosis, despite having better odds of developing a more easy-to-treat form of the cancer.

Other research has shown that black women are more likely to die from breast cancer than white women.

{snip}

Over a five-year period, between 1997 and 2011, more than 1,600 patients were treated for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), the second most common form of leukemia.

About four out of every 100,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with CLL each year.

Of those in Ferrajoli’s study, 84 were African American and 1,571 were not.

Her group found evidence that African American patients received the same quality of treatment as the other patients.

{snip}

Over years of follow up, the researchers found that 21 percent of the African American patients and nine percent of the other patients died.

In addition, African American patients typically went 36 months without a recurrence of the cancer, while the other patients made it 61 months.

Ferrajoli said there must be some differences in the cancer between African American and other patients to explain why they don’t fare as well.

{snip}

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  • Spartacus

    Finally, some good news…

  • sbuffalonative

    Disparate impact in cancer treatment outcome. It’s time to enact a law to correct this injustice.

    • MBlanc46

      Or there will be riots.

    • MawellAxel

      crome- a-zones beez ray-ciss, gnomeasayin

  • Romulus

    This news goes both ways. Don’t allow them to pass their DNA down our line.

    • MawellAxel

      when a person get’s gangrene, the best thing to do is amputate. Those of the white race, and their offspring, that are mixed with blacks- well, they are the gangrene.

  • APaige

    Is “different biology” a relative, social construct designed by the white power structure to ensure and protect white privilege? Liberals used to say that racism is a cancer, but I guess it is the cancer that is racist.

  • So CAL Snowman

    “Her group found evidence that African American patients received the same quality of treatment as the other patients.”

    Yes, but was the treatment administered to the african americans patients by other african americans? If not I think we can attribute the higher mortality rates to White, Asian and Indian doctors that just don’t know how to relate to the african american community.

  • The__Bobster

    Though all patients received equal medical treatment, the black patients tended to have chromosome mutations and other characteristics that are known to be linked with a worse prognosis.

    It’s likely “not related to the treatment,” Ferrajoli speculated, “it’s probably a different biology.”

    Previous studies have found that African Americans are more likely to die from cancer than whites.
    ______

    Gee, I thought race was a social construct.

  • The__Bobster

    Though all patients received equal medical treatment, the black patients tended to have chromosome mutations and other characteristics that are known to be linked with a worse prognosis.
    ________

    Zulus tend to wait longer before they seek treatment. Was that adjustment made in the calculations?

    • MBlanc46

      And blacks are notorious for not taking prescribed medications or following other medical advice. And I wonder whether previous lifestyle issues–diet, smoking, drinking, drug use–were controlled for.

      • TheAntidote

        They’re also notorious for child-like belief in gubmint/medical plots to eliminate them. It’s very likely they don’t take the treatments at all, but rely instead on voodoo and faith healing.

  • The__Bobster

    Of those in Ferrajoli’s study, 84 were African American and 1,571 were not.
    ____

    Frankly, 84 patients seems to be an inadequate sample size to get statistically relevant results.