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By Khadija Allen

A decision to eradicate the influx of lung cancer among patients is igniting a firestorm into the reasons black patients are more likely to die from on-set lung cancer than whites. In a study conducted by scientists from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, suggest that the altitude of death occurs with black patients who suffer from lung cancer versus white patients.

In many cases, black patients either refrained or refused from lung cancer surgeries or treatments out of nearly 400 new cancer patients surveyed for the Journal of the American Medical Association. And the outcomes are bleak. Just 55 percent of black patients chose surgery to remove tumors versus sixty-six percent of white patients. And the university found that many black patients ignored their prognosis to avoid seeing the doctor on a regular basis to treat the cancer, which may disclose the racial contingencies between white and black patients. Among the blacks surveyed, many who declined the performed surgeries were older and single and experienced more health-related issues in the future.

According to The Seattle Times:

The university team found that many black patients misunderstood their prognosis, or didn’t connect well enough with their doctors to feel comfortable discussing the options.

Such insights, while specifically addressing a decision about lung cancer treatment, may help explain persistent differences between racial minorities and whites in disease interventions and outcomes.

“It’s a frustrating problem,” said Dr. Samuel Cykert of the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and lead author of the study. “It’s not just lung cancer,” he said. “It’s everything from using tooth floss to knee replacement surgeries. There are hundreds of categories where disparities systematically exist.”

Cykert said many black patients reported they didn’t connect with their doctors, and as result, didn’t ask questions or initiate a dialogue about treatment options and their potential outcomes.

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