Study: Racial disparity exists in cancer treatment

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Older black patients are less likely than whites to receive the recommended treatment for cancer, according to a new study.

The largest disparities were seen in the treatment of lung, colon and rectal cancers, the journal Cancer reported. Yale University School of Medicine researchers examined cancer treatment for more than 143,000 U.S. residents who were treated for various cancers from 1992 to 2002 under Medicare.

One example of racial disparity in treatment: Among those with early-state lung cancer, blacks were 19% less likely to have tumors surgically removed than whites. Institutional racism accounts for much of the problem, one expert said.