Racial/ethnic disparities in colorectal cancer screening and survival in a large nationwide population-based cohort

Arica L White, The University of Texas School of Public Health

Abstract

Background. Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer (excluding skin cancer) in both men and women in the United States, with an estimated 148,810 new cases and 49,960 deaths in 2008 (1). Racial/ethnic disparities have been reported across the CRC care continuum. Studies have documented racial/ethnic disparities in CRC screening (2-9), but only a few studies have looked at these differences in CRC screening over time (9-11). No studies have compared these trends in a population with CRC and without cancer. Additionally, although there is evidence suggesting that hospital factors (e.g. teaching hospital status and NCI designation) are associated with CRC survival (12-16), no studies have sought to explain the racial/ethnic differences in survival by looking at differences in socio-demographics, tumor characteristics, screening, co-morbidities, treatment, as well as hospital characteristics. ^ Objectives and Methods. The overall goals of this dissertation were to describe the patterns and trends of racial/ethnic disparities in CRC screening (i.e. fecal occult blood test (FOBT), sigmoidoscopy (SIG) and colonoscopy (COL)) and to determine if racial/ethnic disparities in CRC survival are explained by differences in socio-demographic, tumor characteristics, screening, co-morbidities, treatment, and hospital factors. These goals were accomplished in a two-paper format.^ In Paper 1, "Racial/Ethnic Disparities and Trends in Colorectal Cancer Screening in Medicare Beneficiaries with Colorectal Cancer and without Cancer in SEER Areas, 1992-2002", the study population consisted of 50,186 Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with CRC from 1992 to 2002 and 62,917 Medicare beneficiaries without cancer during the same time period. Both cohorts were aged 67 to 89 years and resided in 16 Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) regions of the United States. Screening procedures between 6 months and 3 years prior to the date of diagnosis for CRC patients and prior to the index date for persons without cancer were identified in Medicare claims. The crude and age-gender-adjusted percentages and odds ratios of receiving FOBT, SIG, or COL were calculated. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess race/ethnicity on the odds of receiving CRC screening over time.^ Paper 2, "Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Colorectal Cancer Survival: To what extent are racial/ethnic disparities in survival explained by racial differences in socio-demographics, screening, co-morbidities, treatment, tumor or hospital characteristics", included a cohort of 50,186 Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with CRC from 1992 to 2002 and residing in 16 SEER regions of the United States which were identified in the SEER-Medicare linked database. Survival was estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Cox proportional hazard modeling was used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) of mortality and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI).^ Results. The screening analysis demonstrated racial/ethnic disparities in screening over time among the cohort without cancer. From 1992 to 1995, Blacks and Hispanics were less likely than Whites to receive FOBT (OR=0.75, 95% CI: 0.65-0.87; OR=0.50, 95% CI: 0.34-0.72, respectively) but their odds of screening increased from 2000 to 2002 (OR=0.79, 95% CI: 0.72-0.85; OR=0.67, 95% CI: 0.54-0.75, respectively). Blacks and Hispanics were less likely than Whites to receive SIG from 1992 to 1995 (OR=0.75, 95% CI: 0.57-0.98; OR=0.29, 95% CI: 0.12-0.71, respectively), but their odds of screening increased from 2000 to 2002 (OR=0.79, 95% CI: 0.68-0.93; OR=0.50, 95% CI: 0.35-0.72, respectively).^ The survival analysis showed that Blacks had worse CRC-specific survival than Whites (HR: 1.33, 95% CI: 1.23-1.44), but this was reduced for stages I-III disease after full adjustment for socio-demographic, tumor characteristics, screening, co-morbidities, treatment and hospital characteristics (aHR=1.24, 95% CI: 1.14-1.35). Socioeconomic status, tumor characteristics, treatment and co-morbidities contributed to the reduction in hazard ratios between Blacks and Whites with stage I-III disease. Asians had better survival than Whites before (HR: 0.73, 95% CI: 0.64-0.82) and after (aHR: 0.80, 95% CI: 0.70-0.92) adjusting for all predictors for stage I-III disease. For stage IV, both Asians and Hispanics had better survival than Whites, and after full adjustment, survival improved (aHR=0.73, 95% CI: 0.63-0.84; aHR=0.74, 95% CI: 0.61-0.92, respectively).^ Conclusion. Screening disparities remain between Blacks and Whites, and Hispanics and Whites, but have decreased in recent years. Future studies should explore other factors that may contribute to screening disparities, such as physician recommendations and language/cultural barriers in this and younger populations.^ There were substantial racial/ethnic differences in CRC survival among older Whites, Blacks, Asians and Hispanics. Co-morbidities, SES, tumor characteristics, treatment and other predictor variables contributed to, but did not fully explain the CRC survival differences between Blacks and Whites. Future research should examine the role of quality of care, particularly the benefit of treatment and post-treatment surveillance, in racial disparities in survival.^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Public Health|Health Sciences, Epidemiology

Recommended Citation

White, Arica L, "Racial/ethnic disparities in colorectal cancer screening and survival in a large nationwide population-based cohort" (2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3366836.
https://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/dissertations/AAI3366836

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