Yale: Black patients more likely to experience substandard gastrointestinal surgery 

Black gastrointestinal cancer patients are more likely than white patients to receive substandard surgery for treatment of the disease, a study published April 4 in JAMA Network Open found.

Researchers analyzed a cohort of 565,124 patients with gastrointestinal cancer who underwent surgery between 2004 and 2017. They found Black patients had lower rates of negative surgical margins, namely in esophagus, rectum and bile duct surgeries, and lower number of adequately removed lymph nodes, namely in small intestine, esophagus, colon, pancreas and rectosigmoid surgeries.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light previously reported race disparities in the healthcare system, and our study unfortunately highlights patients with cancer are not immune to these disparities," said Sajid Khan, MD, lead study author and section chief of hepato-pancreato-biliary and mixed tumors at New Haven, Conn.-based Yale Cancer Center. "Lapses in the healthcare system by medical providers and hospital systems contribute to these racial differences and changes are needed to address and eradicate root causes of disparities in the treatment of gastrointestinal cancers."

African American patients were also 68 percent more likely to not receive recommended chemotherapy and 118 percent more likely to not receive recommended radiation therapy after surgery for "unknown reasons," according to the study. 

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