Significant racial disparities found in surgical care of GI cancers, study says

Significant racial disparities have been found in the surgical care of gastrointestinal tract cancers, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open.

The study, published April 4, included 565,124 patients with gastrointestinal tract cancer who underwent surgical resection with a diagnosis from Jan. 1, 2004, to Dec. 31, 2017. Of the patients studied, 10.9 percent were Black and 83.5 percent were white. The data was analyzed from June 21, 2021, to Dec. 23, 2021.

Three key findings:

1. After adjustment for covariates, Black patients were less likely than white patients to have negative surgical margins overall and after esophagectomy, proctectomy and biliary resection.

2. Black patients were less likely to have adequate lymphadenectomy overall and after colectomy, esophagectomy, pancreatectomy, proctectomy, proctocolectomy and enterectomy.

3. Black patients were more likely than white patients not to be recommended for chemotherapy and radiotherapy because of comorbidities and more likely not to receive recommended chemotherapy and radiotherapy for unknown reasons.

The study concluded that Black patients are less likely than white patients to receive standard of care with respect to negative surgical margins, adequate lymphadenectomies and use of adjuvant therapies.

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