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Study Reveals Disparities in Cancer Treatment at Minority-Serving Hospitals

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Researchers say is very important to make sure that hospitals in the US that mostly treat Black and Hispanic people provide high-quality care. In a recent study, researchers have revealed that they have found many differences in the treatment of cancer at these minority-serving hospitals (MSHs) as compared to others.  

This study was published in the journal Cancer. In this study, researchers used data of almost 2.9 million people from the National Cancer Database. It has information about almost 70% of cancer cases in the US. They mainly focused on patients with prostate, breast, colon and non-small cell lung cancers. These patients were eligible for definitive treatment between 2010 and 2019. The term definitive treatment means the main treatment for these cancers such as surgery, radiation, ablation. Healthcare professionals perform surgery for breast and colon cancer. On the other hand, they perform surgery, radiation or ablation for people with prostate cancer. This study lasted for 9 years.  

When researchers observed the collected data, they found that 9.3% of participated people got treatment at MSHs. The chance of them getting definitive treatment was 17% less as compared to those who got treatment at non-MSHs. The chance of getting definitive treatment for people with prostate, colon and lung cancer was lower by 31%, 19% and 27% respectively. Researchers also considered some sociodemographic and clinical factors. But these differences were still the same. 

Researchers of this study also found that if the treatment rates at MSHs were matched those at non-MSHs then 5,719 more patients would have received definitive cancer treatment in 10 years. This clearly shows that improving medical care at MSHs can effectively help these minority populations. Researchers also noticed that hospitals that provide medical care to minority groups had very few resources and faced many problems. So, providing more funding to these hospitals can improve the quality of medical care. This can reduce these differences and make the treatment the same for cancers.  

Reference Link: 

Estimating the Impact of Enhanced Care at Minority-Serving Hospitals on Disparities in the Treatment of Breast, Prostate, Lung, and Colon Cancers, Cancer (2024).  

DOI: 10.1002/cncr.35328