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February 16, 2009

Racial Disparities in Lung Cancer Care: The Unresolved Problem

Arch Surg. 2009;144(2):193-197. doi:10.1001/archsurg.2008.548

Disparities in lung cancer outcomes between black and white individuals in the United States have been well documented, yet the explanation for these differences remains poorly understood. Several factors have been implicated, including barriers to adequate care, patient/physician mistrust, socioeconomic obstacles, and cultural myths. In the January issue of the Archives, Farjah and colleagues1 reported their findings from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)–Medicare database. Their analysis is similar to that of the 1999 seminal article by Bach et al,2 but this study was performed within a larger population, for a longer time, and during a different time. Although both studies address racial disparities in surgical care for early stage disease, Farjah et al sought to find reasons for the differences between patients offered and not offered surgical resection, as opposed to the rate of surgical resection reported by Bach et al.

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