Publication Abstract

Authors: Shavers VL, Harlan LC, Jackson M, Robinson J

Title: Racial/ethnic patterns of care for pancreatic cancer.

Journal: J Palliat Med 12(7):623-30

Date: 2009 Jul

Abstract: INTRODUCTION: The small proportion of cancers diagnosed at the local disease stage, resectable at the time diagnosis, and responsive to chemotherapy contribute to poor survival making pancreatic cancer the fourth leading cause of cancer death among Americans. This emphasizes the importance of receiving appropriate palliative care. Racial/ethnic cancer treatment disparities have been observed for many cancer sites. We examine patterns of care in a population-based sample of African American, Hispanic and non-Hispanic white patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. METHODS: Eligible cases were age 20 or older and newly diagnosed in 1998 with primary adenocarcinoma of the pancreas reported to the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program and selected for the NCI Patterns of Care/Quality of Care (POC/QOC) project (n = 697). RESULTS: Chemotherapy, the most frequently received treatment was less frequently received by African American patients (odds ratio [OR] 0.61, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.37-0.95) and radiation less frequently received by Hispanic compared to non-Hispanic white white patients (OR 0.50, 95% CI, 0.27-0.95) after adjustment for age, stage, size of tumor, and insurance status in a multivariate regression model. Cancer-directed surgery of the primary site was received by 14.1% of patients, which did not significantly differ by race/ethnicity. Uninsured patients less often were recommended for or received surgery (OR 0.09, 95% CI 0.01-0.62) and (OR 0.07, 95% CI, 0.01-0.49), respectively. CONCLUSION: Differences in primary tumor size, stage and insurance status contributed to racial/ethnic differences in the receipt of cancer-directed surgery but did not explain differences in the receipt of chemotherapy for African American or radiation for Hispanic patients. More population-based research is needed to examine race/ethnicity, insurance status and receipt of treatment and palliative care for pancreatic cancer.