MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Robert Wong, M.D., M.S.
Attending Physician, Gastroenterology & Hepatology
Director, GI Education & Research
Highland Hospital I A member of Alameda Health System
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Wong: Colorectal cancer is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. Early diagnosis through implementation of effective screening and surveillance programs leads to earlier staged tumor at time of diagnosis, which increases the treatment opportunities and improves overall survival. However, disparities in access to effective screening and surveillance can impair timely diagnosis and lead to advanced disease, limited treatment options and poor outcomes. The current study evaluated race/ethnicity-specific disparities in colorectal cancer epidemiology at a large urban safety net hospital and observed African American patients had significantly more advanced cancer stage at the time of diagnosis. Our study observed that African Americans were over 5 times more likely to have advanced stage 3-4 colon cancer at time of diagnosis compared with non-Hispanic white patients with colon cancer. While these findings are likely multifactorial, it sheds important light on race/ethnicity-specific disparities in colorectal cancer epidemiology and helps target future education and research to improve outcomes.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Dr. Wong: Race/ethnicity-specific disparities continue to exist for colorectal cancer epidemiology with African Americans significantly more likely to have advanced colorectal cancer at time of diagnosis. The underlying reason for these findings are not clear, but greater awareness about appropriate timely implementation of colorectal cancer screening and surveillance is urgently needed, especially among groups where these disparities are observed.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Wong: Future research focusing on understanding underlying etiologies for these findings are needed, so that future education and resources can more specifically target avenues by which to improve these outcomes. Further research on better understanding both patient and provider attitudes towards colorectal cancer screening and how this affects timely completion of first time examinations as well as subsequent surveillance examination may provide additional valuable information to help improve clinical care. Finally, given that our study was performed at an urban safety-net hospital, future studies should be conducted to identify what factors within our system contribute to these disparities and what effective system-wide changes could be implemented to help reduce these disparities.
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Citation: Abstract presented at the 2016 Digestive Disease Conference
Black Patients With Colorectal Cancer Have More Advanced Cancer Stage at Time of Diagnosis Among a Large, Urban, Underserved Safety-Net Population
Chuck Chan1, Gabriella Bartos2, Harleen Dyal3, Taft Bhuket1, Benny Liu1, Stephen Yee4, David Irwin4, Robert J. Wong1
1 Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Alameda Health System – Highland Hospital, Oakland, California, United States; 2 Medicine, Alameda Health System – Highland Hospital, Oakland, California, United States; 3 Family Medicine, University of Arkansas Medical Sciences, Fort Smith, Arkansas, United States; 4 Hematology and Oncology, Alameda Health System – Highland Hospital, Oakland, California, United States
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