Purpose: Accessibility to medical care may be the most important factor influencing differences in colon cancer treatment among whites and blacks. This study assessed whether racial disparities in colon cancer surgery and chemotherapy existed in an equal access healthcare system. Additionally, we sought to examine whether racial differences varied by tumor stage.

Methods: Patients included 2,570 non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks with colon cancer diagnosed from 1998 to 2007. Logistic regression was used to assess the associations between race and the receipt of colon cancer surgery or chemotherapy, while controlling for available potential confounders, both overall and stratified by tumor stage.

Results: Univariate analysis revealed that there were no racial differences in surgery but that non-Hispanic blacks were more likely to receive chemotherapy than non-Hispanic whites. However, after multivariate adjustment, the odds of receiving colon cancer surgery and chemotherapy were similar between the two racial groups and did not vary by tumor stage.

Conclusion: When access to medical care is equal, racial disparities in the receipt of colon cancer surgery and chemotherapy were not apparent. Thus, it is possible that equal access to care is the driving force behind racial disparities in cancer treatment in the general population.

Citation Format: Abegail Andaya, Lindsey Enewold, Shelia H. Zahm, Craig D. Shriver, Joan Warren, Alexander Stojadinovic, Katherine McGlynn, Kangmin Zhu. Colon cancer treatment: Are there racial disparities in an equal-access healthcare system? [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the Eleventh Annual AACR International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research; 2012 Oct 16-19; Anaheim, CA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Prev Res 2012;5(11 Suppl):Abstract nr B99.