A matter of race: early-versus late-stage cancer diagnosis

Health Aff (Millwood). 2009 Jan-Feb;28(1):160-8. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.28.1.160.


We compared the stage at which cancer is diagnosed and survival rates between African Americans and whites, for thirty-four solid tumors, using the population-based Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database. Whites were diagnosed at earlier stages than African Americans for thirty-one of the thirty-four tumor sites. Whites were significantly more likely than blacks to survive five years for twenty-six tumor sites; no cancer site had significantly superior survival among African Americans. These differences cannot be explained by screening behavior or risk factors; they point instead to the need for broad-based strategies to remedy racial inequality in cancer survival.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms* / classification
  • Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms* / ethnology
  • Racial Groups*
  • SEER Program
  • Survival Analysis
  • United States / epidemiology