Three recent studies have identified trends in survival for patients with ovarian, colon, and breast cancer in the United States based on race and disease stage.
All three studies were published in Cancer (online December 5, 2017; doi:10.1002/cncr.31027; 10.1002/cncr.31076; 10.1002/cncr.30988).
Investigators at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed data from the CONCORD-2 study, which evaluated survival for patients with cancer from 1995 to 2009 across 67 different countries. The study also enabled the comparison of survival of patients in the United States with other countries.
In the analysis of ovarian cancer data, Sherri L Stewart, PhD, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta, GA), and colleagues found that among the 172,849 cases of ovarian cancer in the United States from 2001 to 2009, more than 50% were diagnosed at a distant stage. Stage-specific survival between 2004 and 2009 was 86.4% for localized, 60.9% for regional, and 27.4 for distant stage disease. While the 5-year survival rate increased from 39.6% in 2001-2003 to 41.0% in 2004-2009, black patients had consistently worse survival compared with white patients (29.6% from 2001-2003 and 31.1% from 2004-2009), despite similar stage distributions.
Similar trends were observed in the colon cancer analysis. Arica White, PhD, MPH, and colleagues reported that the 5-year survival rates increased from 63.7% in 2001-2003 to 64.6% in 2004-2009. While survival increased in this time for both black and white patients, the 5-year survival rate among black patients diagnosed in 2004-2009 had not reached the survival rate of white patients diagnosed in 1990-1994. Additionally, more black patients than white patients were diagnosed at distant stage in 2001-2003 as well as 2004-2009.
In the analysis of breast cancer data, Jacqueline W Miller, MD, and colleagues found that while 5-year survival rate was 88.2%, survival was more than 10% lower for black patients than for white patients (from 2001-2003, 76.9% vs 89.1%, respectively; from 2004-2009, 78.4% vs 89.6%, respectively).
Researchers from all three analyses concluded that their findings revealed significant and consistent racial disparities in survival. Clinical and public health efforts—including targeted efforts to improve timely screening—are recommended to help decrease these disparities across ovarian, colon, and breast cancer in the United States.—Zachary Bessette