Racial Disparities in Health-Related Quality of Life for Patients With Colorectal Cancer

AJMC Staff

Hispanics and blacks with colorectal cancer report a higher burden of poor health-related quality of life (HR-QoL) compared with white patients, according to study results presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.
The study looked at predictors of HR-QoL and how differences among racial groups were linked to colorectal survival.
“In this study, we focused on identification of patterns of racial disparities in health-related quality-of-life scores and relationship to differences in prognosis,” lead author Michelle Hildebrandt, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, said in a statement. “White, Hispanic and black colorectal cancer patients within 1 year of diagnosis at MD Anderson completed a quality of life questionnaire to determine mental and physical aspects of quality of life.”
The poor HR-QoL that Hispanic and black patients experienced resulted in a shorter median survival, but did not adversely affect average survival. Hispanics had an average survival of 85.4 months compared with black patients at 47.8 months and white patients at 43.2 months.
Study participants completed the Short-Form-12 survey, a QoL questionnaire to determine Mental Composite Summary (MCS) and Physical Composite Summary (PCS), as well as questionnaire to determine epidemiology and sociodemographic variables.
Hildebrandt noted that both black and Hispanic patients reported lower mean MCS and PCS scores, which suggests poorer HR-QoL. The study also found that Hispanics who never married had a higher risk of poor HR-QoL compared with married Hispanics. This is not a trend that was seen among white or black colorectal cancer patients. In addition, some college education among Hispanics was associated with a decreased risk of poor PCS.
“The patterns of racial disparity observed in this study can be an important tool for assessing the underlying mediators of HR-QoL in colorectal cancer patients and in further identifying patients who are particularly at risk for poor prognosis,” said Hildebrandt.
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