Objective: This study examined racial differences in treatment and survival for blacks and whites in Florida diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer.
Methods: Data for 21,481 malignancies of the oral cavity or pharynx diagnosed from 1988 to 1998 were derived from the Florida Cancer Data System. Type of cancer treatment was compared by race, stratified by anatomic site and summary stage at diagnosis. Kaplan-Meier survival curves were used to compare survival rates and Cox regression models were used to estimate hazard ratios for race. Covariates included age, sex, census tract income, and treatment.
Results: Stratifying by tumor site and stage, blacks consistently had poorer survival rates than whites. Across tumor stages, blacks with oral cavity cancer were consistently more likely than whites to have received only radiotherapy and less likely to have received cancer-directed surgery. Trends were similar for pharyngeal cancer, although statistically significant only for regional stages. Across site and stage, blacks consistently had elevated hazard ratios (range: 1.20-1.53) relative to whites.
Conclusions: In Florida, there were racial differences in patient treatment for oral or pharyngeal cancer. Blacks had lower survival rates than whites, but differences in treatment did not entirely account for racial disparities in survival.
Copyright 2004 Kluwer Academic Publishers