Higher Rates of Emergency Colorectal Cancer Surgery Among Blacks

By Lou Portero - January 19, 2023

Black patients are more likely to undergo emergency surgery for colorectal cancer, which is associated with worse short- and long-term outcomes, according to a study recently published in the Annals of Surgery.

Ryan Howard, M.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues conducted a statewide retrospective study of patients who underwent surgery for colorectal cancer between January 1, 2015, and April 30, 2021. The researchers used data from four thousand eight hundred and sixty-nine patients who underwent surgery to assess emergency surgery frequency and identify the factors associated with emergency surgery. They also evaluated the differences in presentation and outcomes of surgery for colorectal cancer.

The researchers found that twenty-three percent of the patients underwent emergency surgery. Among the patients with colorectal cancer, Black non-Hispanic patients were more likely to undergo emergency screening than white non-Hispanic patients. According to the study, there is an almost 6% increase in the risk of black patients undergoing surgery compared with white patients. 

According to the researchers, increased emergency surgery in black patients may result from barriers to timely screening and evaluation.

The researchers also found that undergoing emergency surgery was associated with an increased death rate in a thirty-day period, increased complications, increased readmissions, and increased reoperations.

“Colorectal cancer is universally screened for and develops fairly slowly. “So if someone is plugged into the healthcare system, the chances are very high that we will detect it, and they will get the appropriate evaluation and work-up,” Howard said in a statement. “The fact that we found patients who are not getting that suggests that there is an opportunity to improve the care we deliver to patients, even before they get to the surgical episode.”



Source: Oncology Nurse Advisor 

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