Impact of equal access healthcare on race disparities in bladder cancer.

Journal Article

399 Background: Outcomes in bladder cancer are disproportionately worse for black patients compared to white patients. We hypothesize these disparities arise in part due to differences in access to healthcare and therefore may be mitigated in an equal access healthcare system, such as the Veterans Affairs’ (VA) system. Here, we examine outcomes by race for patients with bladder cancer within the VA system and then compare these outcomes to those in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database. Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort study using VA Informatics and Computing Infrastructure (VINCI) and SEER. We included all patients diagnosed with bladder cancer, American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) stage 0-4 diagnosed between 2000 and 2018. Endpoints of overall survival (OS), bladder cancer-specific survival (BCS), and non-bladder cancer-specific survival (NCS) were evaluated in multivariable Cox and Fine-Gray models. Results: Using the VA dataset, we identified 36322 veterans (9.0% black, 91.0% white) with bladder cancer. Black veterans were more likely to have more comorbidities, reside in zip codes with lower median income and education levels, and present with higher stage disease (AJCC stages 2-4) than white veterans (23.3% vs 19%). In multivariable models accounting for disease stage among other covariables, there were no statistically significant differences in any survival endpoint (Table). Using the SEER dataset, we identified 130998 patients (5.9% black, 94.1% white) with bladder cancer. In similar multivariable models, SEER’s black patients had statistically significant inferior outcomes in all survival endpoints compared to SEER’s white patients (Table). Conclusions: While racial disparities for patients with bladder cancer in the SEER database were observed, no differences in survival outcomes between black and white patients were observed in the VA healthcare system. Of note, black veterans presented with more advanced stage, suggesting a delay in diagnosis or a more aggressive cancer phenotype compared to white patients. Our findings underscore the need to bridge healthcare disparities across diverse racial groups. Our study highlights the beneficial impact of an equal access healthcare system in reducing financial and social barriers to healthcare to counteract racial health disparities. Further research is required to delineate these disparities and guide appropriate screening strategies. [Table: see text]

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Kotha, NV; Kumar, A; Qiao, EM; Cherry, DR; Nalawade, V; Kader, AK; McKay, RR; Stewart, TF; Rose, BS

Published Date

  • February 20, 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 39 / 6_suppl

Start / End Page

  • 399 - 399

Published By

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1527-7755

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0732-183X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1200/jco.2021.39.6_suppl.399


  • en