CONTEXT: Prior studies have found racial differences in the use of invasive procedures and in cancer survival. OBJECTIVE: To assess the influence of race on the treatment and survival of patients with distal esophageal cancer. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. SETTING: All Veterans Affairs Medical Centers. PATIENTS: One thousand two hundred ninety white and 231 black male veterans with a new diagnosis of distal esophageal cancer during 1993 to 1997. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Utilization of surgical resection, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and survival. RESULTS: Black patients with esophageal adenocarcinoma were less likely to undergo surgery (OR, 0.54; 95% CI, 0.30-0.96) but had similar odds of undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Black patients with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) were less likely to undergo surgical resection (OR, 0.45; 95% CI, 0.29-0.70), but were more likely to undergo radiation therapy (OR, 1.72; 95% CI, 1.21-2.47) and chemotherapy (OR, 1.74; 95% CI, 1.19-2.54). Mortality was increased for black patients with SCC (adjusted risk ratio 1.33; 95% CI, 1.10-1.61) but not adenocarcinoma. Among those veterans who underwent surgical resection (n = 502), similar results were found. CONCLUSIONS: Black veterans with distal SCC are less likely than white veterans to undergo surgical resection, whereas the use of radiation therapy and chemotherapy, as well as mortality, is increased. Black patients with distal esophageal adenocarcinoma have lower odds of undergoing surgical resection but have similar utilization of radiation therapy and chemotherapy and similar survival. Despite the presence of an equal access medical system, treatment and outcomes differ for black and white veterans with distal esophageal cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health