Race and Sex Differences in the Receipt of Timely and Appropriate Lung Cancer Treatment

Published In: Medical Care, v. 47, no. 7, July 2009, p. 774-781

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2009

by Lisa R. Shugarman, Katherine Mack, Melony E. Sorbero, Haijun Tian, Arvind Jain, J. Scott Ashwood, Steven M. Asch

Read More

Access further information on this document at Lippincott Williams and Wilkins

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

BACKGROUND: Previous research suggests that disparities in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) survival can be explained in part by disparities in the receipt of cancer treatment. Few studies, however, have considered race and sex disparities in the timing and appropriateness of treatment across stages of diagnosis. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the relationship of sex and race with the receipt of timely and clinically appropriate NSCLC treatment for each stage of diagnosis. METHOD: Surveillance Epidemiology and End Result data linked to Medicare claims for beneficiaries diagnosed with NSCLC between 1995 and 1999 were used to evaluate the relationship between race and sex with timely and appropriate NSCLC treatment while controlling for other demographic characteristics, comorbidities, socioeconomic status, and provider supply (N = 22,145). RESULTS: Overall adjusted rates of timely and appropriate treatment are 37.2%, 58.1%, and 29.2% for Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with stage I or II, III, and IV NSCLC, respectively. Among stage I or II patients, women were 25% less likely to receive timely surgical resection relative to men, and blacks were 66% less likely to receive timely and appropriate treatment than whites. Black men were least likely to receive resection (22.2% compared with 43.7% for white men). Blacks were 34% less likely to receive timely surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation for stage III disease and were 51% less likely to receive chemotherapy in a timely fashion for stage IV disease relative to whites. CONCLUSION: Significant variations in appropriate timely treatment were found within and across stages of diagnosis, confirming that sex and race differences in NSCLC treatment exist.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.