Not all groups are benefitting from advances in colon cancer screening, diagnosis, and treatment, says The New York Times' Well blog. Highlighting that is a new report in The Journal of Clinical Oncology, which found that while colorectal cancer mortality rates have declined for both black and white patients, that decrease was smaller for blacks. "Blacks are more likely to have their cancers detected at a later stage," says American Cancer Society's Anthony Robbins, the study's lead author. "And then no matter which stage it's detected at, their survival is lower. This disparity in the stage at diagnosis is getting worse over time, and it's driving these death rates apart."
In an editorial accompanying the ASCO report, Ohio State University's Electra Paskett says a concerted effort must be made to lessen that gap. She says that universal coverage for colorectal cancer screening could help address both the screening gap and the mortality gap.
At the Well blog, John Kauh, an oncologist at Grady Memorial Hospital, adds that better screening will help address, but won't solve the issue. "To me, a lot of this has to do with socioeconomic issues that can't be quickly turned around," he says. "If you don't have access to good health care, no matter how much education you provide patients, it's going to be hard to make an overall difference in survival."