Race Could Be a Factor in Head, Neck Cancer Survival Rates

Science Daily, June 5, 2014

The national survival rates for African-Americans diagnosed with head and neck cancer have not improved in the last 40 years despite advances in the treatment and management of the disease, University of Missouri School of Medicine researchers have found in a new study.

More than 52,000 men and women in the United States currently are living with head and neck cancer. Using data from the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, epidemiology and end results (SEER) program, MU researchers under the guidance of Mosharraf Hossain, MD, assistant professor in the MU School of Medicine’s Division of Hematology and Oncology and physician with Ellis Fischel Cancer Center in Columbia, Mo., studied the survival trend of five ethnic groups over the last 40 years. The researchers found that despite advances in treatment options, the prognosis for African-Americans with head and neck cancer has not improved.


By analyzing data collected from 1973 to 2010 on 247,310 head and neck cancer patients nationwide, the researchers found that the incidence of head and neck cancer was higher in African-Americans than in Caucasians, Hispanics, Asians and Pacific Islanders, or Asian-Indian and Alaskan natives. All of these ethnic groups except African-Americans showed improved five-year survival rates over a 40-year period. African-Americans had a significantly decreased five-year overall survival rate of 41.8 percent, compared with 60.8 percent survival for Caucasians, 59.3 percent survival for Hispanics, 62 percent survival for Asians and Pacific Islanders, and 50.2 percent survival for Asian-Indian and Alaskan natives.

“One commonly held theory is that socioeconomic status, access to health care and the stage in which the cancer is diagnosed all play a major role in the survival rates of African-Americans with head and neck cancer,” Raza said. “However, these factors are not completely accurate predictors of a patient’s prognosis.”


The researchers suggest that inherent genetic factors in African-Americans may make some tumors resistant to treatments. {snip}

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  • JDInSanD

    White Doctors and Researchers Could Be Thee Factor in Head, Neck Cancer Survival Rates.

    • Oil Can Harry

      Yup. Blacks may have a higher death rate because they’re “treated” by affirmative action (witch) doctors like Conrad Muhammed.

      • Cid Campeador

        How about because they can’t resist indulging in risky behavior?

        • ElComadreja

          Low IQ and almost non-existent impulse control will do that.

  • Sloppo

    I don’t understand how an imaginary social construct could possible affect cancer survival rates.

    • JSS

      Even cancer is micro aggressive towards minorities. I guess diseases also can’t see White privilege.

      • Einsatzgrenadier

        You could even say that cancer is racist toward blacks. Maybe chemotherapy sessions should include diversity sensitivity training?

  • Don’t worry, America. Obamacare will cure these racist cancers. By seeing to it that whites get shortchanged in medical care so that the white death rate increases. Obamacare, solving problems for black America since 2014.

  • r j p

    This isn’t that difficult, White people go to better doctors and hospitals.
    They don’t go to where ever the amberlamps takes them.

  • mac Grath

    Perhaps, smoking 3 packs of KOOL’s a day combined with shooting heroin,free basing crack cocaine, smoking reefer by the pound and binge alcohol abuse may have a causal effect on said African-American. “However” Dr. Raza stated covering his PC butt ” these factors are not completely accurate predictors of a patients prognosis.” ……Right !

    • Dr. Möbias

      He has to say that to keep his job. He well knows that blacks engage in health-destroying activities far more than whites do but he had to toe the PC-mandated line to keep his research grants and sinecure.

      If pressed, he’d deny there were any differences between the races and blame the greater disparity in outcomes to white racism. After all, Dr. “LaRaza” is not white.

    • ElComadreja

      Don’t forget eating KFC fifteen times a week.

  • RyanP

    It should be easy to factor out access to health care excuses. Just compare black/white survival rate differences in Canada.

  • toldev

    An uncle of mine had throat cancer. I think that would be included in head and neck cancers. Anyway, his was successfully treated. The thing about it is, in order to have a positive outcome, the treatment requires a lot of diligence on the part of the patient. Things like showing up for appointments for radiation and chemotherapy, getting prescriptions filled and taking the medication as directed, and on and on.

    Now anybody who has ever worked with blacks knows that it is hard to get them to do anything correctly and when they are supposed to. I think that by itself explains much of the difference in survival rates.

    • Dr. Möbias

      Cancer is one thing, which as far as I know is not contagious. TB, however, is contagious and health officials in New York have a terrible time getting blacks to comply with the medical protocol for dealing with TB which requires the patient to take some initiative for his own health, like taking the required medications.

      There was talk in the past about locking them up to force them to take the required medication under supervision because they are a menace to society and put everyone else’s health at great risk. But that was declared “racist.” Better to expose others to TB, including the, new, deadly and antibiotic resistant types, than be accused of racism.

  • David Ashton

    There is always some interaction between genes and environment with illness, even cancer. It would be interesting to know whether a degree of previous disharmonic race crossing correlates with cancer in socially defined “Afro-Americans”. Anyone with epidemiological data?

    • DaveMed

      I’m not sure that I understand your question.

      • David Ashton

        1. Afro-Americans/Blacks in the USA as generally recognized are not a “pure Negro” but a mixed group with “Caucasian” and some Amerindian genes.
        2. Racial crossing between Negroes and Whites may lead to disharmony and produce systemic strains that cause or aggravate illness of various kinds.
        3. If so, medical research that eliminates environmental factors could conceivably detect such illnesses, weakened resistance to infection and longevity problems.

  • Dr. Möbias

    The researchers found that despite advances in treatment options, the prognosis for African-Americans with head and neck cancer has not improved.

    Then treatment must be denied to “Caucasians” to equalize outcomes, level the playing field and make it fair.

    The national survival rates for African-Americans diagnosed with head and neck cancer have not improved in the last 40 years

    Then let African-Americans research, fund and find the cause, not Caucasians, because it is not our problem. Just as they could not care less, and, in fact, would be cheering if it were whites that were resistant to treatment for head and neck cancers.

    I do not care about black health problems.

    • ShermanTMcCoy

      I support black health problems.

    • TheAntidote

      Hey! I think you’re onto something there. In the interest of the level playing field and TOTAL equality perhaps whites could be injected with poisons or pathogens that would mimic the sickle cell malady. Maybe whites could be bribed or somehow induced to smoke 2 1/2 packs of mentholated cigs a day.

  • Alucard_the_last

    Who cares if they die? Society is MUCH better off without them.

    • ElComadreja

      Amen to that.

    • TheAntidote

      Yeah, but suppose that gangbanger or multiple rapist turned himz life aroun’ and then went to medical school and discovered the cure for cancer of the neck and head?

  • Evette Coutier

    Only a white privilege tax and cancer quotas on whites can level the field of cancer survival rates.