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African American patients have poorer health outcomes following cancer diagnosis

Category: General Health

Black patients who receive a positive cancer test are almost twice as likely to die from their disease as other races, according to a new report from researchers at the University of Michigan.

The study found that the five-year survival rates for black patients with colorectal cancer are 10 percent lower. The numbers are worse when it comes to uterine cancer. Black women diagnosed with the disease are 25 percent more likely to die of it within five years.

Both of the cancers are highly treatable when they are caught in early stages, but can be deadly when left untreated, the report notes.

Arden Morris, who led the study, said that there may be several causes of the disparity. They include the fact that black patients often have underlying health problems that contribute their condition, they are less likely to be advised of all treatment options and hospitals that treat primarily black patients tend to have fewer resources and provide lower quality care.

"Black cancer patients don't fare as well as whites," she said. "This is a complex problem and it won't be easy to solve."

The findings underscore the importance of regular cancer testing for patients of all backgrounds.

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