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Posted on Mon, Jul 5, 2010 : 12:15 p.m.

Black patients twice as likely to die from cancer, University of Michigan study finds

By Tina Reed

Black patients are twice as likely to die from cancer as patients of other races, and the increased death rate likely doesn't have to do with a physical difference, new University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center research says.

Instead, it's likely the disparity in cancer survival rates exists because black patients are not receiving the same access to treatments and are being diagnosed at a later state of their illness, according to research published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. Researchers said a number of factors are likely contributors, including the increased likelihood that black patients are treated by hospitals that tend to have fewer resources. They are also less likely to receive recommendations about cancer screenings or to receive surgery or chemotherapy.

“Black cancer patients don’t fare as well as whites," the study's author, Arden Morris, an associate professor of surgery at the U-M Medical School and chief of general surgery at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, said in a statement. "Their cancers are diagnosed at a later stage, the care they receive is often not as good - or they get no care at all. Black patients may trust their doctor less, they may be unable to pay and the hospitals that serve more black patients tend to have fewer resources."

Contact reporter Tina Reed at, call her at 734-623-2535 or find her on Twitter @TreedinAA.