Background: Esophageal cancer rate disparities are pronounced for blacks and whites. This study presents black-white esophageal cancer incidence, mortality, relative survival rates, histology and trends for two five-year time periods--1991-1995 and 1996-2000--and for the time period 1991-2000.
Methods: The study used data from the National Cancer Institute's population-based Surveillance Epidemiology End Results (SEER) program with submission dates 1991-2000. Age-adjusted incidence, mortality, relative survival rates and histology for esophageal carcinoma were calculated for nine SEER cancer registries for 1991-2000. Rates were analyzed by race and gender for changes over specified time periods.
Results: Esophageal cancer age-adjusted incidence of blacks was about twice that of whites (8.63 vs. 4.39/100,000, p < 0.05). Age-adjusted mortality for blacks, although showing a declining trend, was nearly twice that of whites (7.79 vs. 3.96, p < 0.05). Although survival was poor for all groups, it was significantly poorer in blacks than in whites. Squamous cell carcinoma was more commonly diagnosed in blacks and white females, whereas adenocarcinoma was more common among white males (p < 0.001).
Conclusions: Racial disparities in esophageal cancer incidence, mortality, survival and histology exist. Survival rates from this disease have not significantly improved over the decade. These data support the need for advances in prevention, early detection biomarker research and research on new, more effective treatment modalities for this disease.