Introduction African Americans experience the highest burden of cancer incidence and mortality in the United States and have been persistently less likely to receive interventional care, even when such care has been proven superior to conservative management by randomized controlled trials. The presence of disparities in access to radiation therapy (RT) for African American cancer patients has rarely been examined in an expansive fashion. Methods and materials An extensive literature search was performed using the PubMed database to examine studies investigating disparities in RT access for African Americans. Results A total of 55 studies were found, spanning 11 organ systems. Disparities in access to RT for African Americans were most prominently study in cancers of the breast (23 studies), prostate (7 studies), gynecologic system (5 studies), and hematologic system (5 studies). Disparities in RT access for African Americans were prevalent regardless of organ system studied and often occurred independently of socioeconomic status. Fifty of 55 studies (91%) involved analysis of a population-based database such as Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Result (SEER; 26 studies), SEER-Medicare (5 studies), National Cancer Database (3 studies), or a state tumor registry (13 studies). Conclusions African Americans in the United States have diminished access to RT compared with Caucasian patients, independent of but often in concert with low socioeconomic status. These findings underscore the importance of finding systemic and systematic solutions to address these inequalities to reduce the barriers that patient race provides in receipt of optimal cancer care.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging