ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Black patients with bladder cancer are 35 percent more likely to die of the disease than white patients, according to a new study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.
In a study of 93,093 people with bladder cancer, the researchers found black patients were diagnosed with more advanced disease and were more likely to have an aggressive type of tumor, compared to white patients. In addition, black women in particular were more likely than white men or women and black men to have a more aggressive tumor.
Results of the study appear in the September issue of the Journal of Urology.
Using data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results registry, a population-based cancer registry maintained by the National Cancer Institute, researchers looked at patients diagnosed with bladder cancer between 1973 and 1999. The large timeframe allowed the researchers to review trends in five-year intervals.
They found that over time, more patients were diagnosed with early tumors that had not spread rather than advanced disease. But in the most recent time interval, 80 percent of white patients were diagnosed with early stage cancer while only 68 percent of black patients were. Black women had the highest proportion of advanced tumors at all time intervals.
"Many groups speculate that the racial disparity in bladder cancer is a result of blacks being diagnosed with more advanced disease. We found that while there is disparity in the stage at diagnosis, there have also been some improvements. Black patients diagnosed with bladder cancer in more recent years have a higher rate of early stage disease than those diagnosed in the earlier years," says study author Cheryl Lee, M.D., director of the bladder cancer program at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center and associate professor of urology at the U-M Medical School.