Black and Hispanic colorectal cancer patients have a worse health-related quality of life (HR-QoL) than white patients, yet Hispanics survive an average 85.4 months after diagnosis — nearly twice as long as blacks (47.8 months) and whites (43.2 months).
These are among other findings of racial disparities in colorectal cancer patients presented April 2 at the American Association for Cancer Research 2017 annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
“In this study, we focused on identification of patterns of racial disparities in health-related quality of life scores and relationship to differences in prognosis,” Michelle Hildebrandt, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, said in a news release.
White, Hispanic and black colorectal cancer patients within one year of diagnosis at MD Anderson completed a quality-of-life questionnaire to determine mental and physical aspects of quality of life. Hildebrandt and colleagues then conducted a follow-up analysis from the MD Anderson survey that found blacks and Hispanics reported worse reported HR-QoL than their white counterparts did.
The study examined predictors of HR-Q0L racial disparities and how these differences were linked to colorectal cancer survival.
Overall, 450 white, 366 Hispanic, and 316 black patients completed questionnaires to collect socio-demographic and epidemiology variables, as well as the Short-Form-12 survey (SF-12) — a tool widely used to assess quality of life, with a score below 50 considered a poor quality of life compared to the general population.
The MD Anderson’s tumor registry was used to collect patients’ vital status and colorectal cancer clinical information.
“Racial disparities were reported in HR-QoL with both black and Hispanic patients reporting lower mean PCS and MCS scores compared to whites, suggesting poorer HR-QoL in these populations,” Hildebrandt said. “However, among colorectal patients reporting a poor PCS [Physical Composite Summary], we observed the highest median survival among Hispanics followed by blacks and whites.”
The researchers found that Hispanics who had never married were three times more likely to have a poor HR-QoL than married patients — a pattern not seen in either non-Hispanic black or white patients. In addition, Hispanics with some college education were less likely to have poor mental well-being, than other racial groups with similar education levels.
Furthermore, both white and black females were twice as likely to report poor functional health — a trend not seen among Hispanic females.
“The patterns of racial disparity observed in this study can be an important tool for assessing the underlying mediators of HR-QoL in colorectal cancer patients and in further identifying patients who are particularly at risk for poor prognosis,” Hildebrandt said.