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Fewer blacks opt for lung surgery.

Race may play a role in whether a patient accepts surgical treatment for lung cancer, relates a study which found that blacks with the disease declined procedures at a higher rate than whites, leading researchers to believe that blacks may be misinformed about the effects of a possible operation.

"Surgery for early stage non-small cell lung cancer is standard treatment and is likely curative. Yet, fewer blacks than whites undergo surgery for the disease, leading to a higher mortality rate among blacks with lung cancer," states Bruno DiGiovine, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, Mich. "Identifying and addressing the underlying reason for this discrepancy in surgical rates may, ultimately, lead to greater rates of surgical acceptance and decreased mortality rates among blacks with lung cancer."

Researchers speculate that the discrepancy may be a result of racial bias by the physician or a high frequency of comorbidities or a lack of surgical acceptance among blacks. To assess these possible reasons, the rates at which blacks and whites were offered and accepted surgery for stages I and II non-small cell lung cancer were compared. In the study, 74% of whites underwent surgical resection, compared with 58% of blacks. Within the two groups, 79% of whites were offered surgery, 70% of blacks. Of those offered surgical resection, blacks were over three times more likely to decline.

"Knowing blacks decline surgery at a higher rate than whites is the first step to decreasing lung cancer mortality among this population. We must now identify why so many blacks decline," DiGiovine asserts. "Earlier research has shown that blacks may be misinformed about the risks of surgery, as they are more likely than whites to believe that lung cancer will spread if exposed to air during an operation. This misinformation may contribute to the low rate of lung cancer surgery acceptance among the black population."
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Title Annotation:Cancer Treatment
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Feb 1, 2006
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