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Blacks and Hispanics less likely to receive recommended lung cancer imaging

African American patients with non-small cell lung cancer were only about half as likely as whites to receive PET-CT imaging which helps doctors match patients with the best treatments. Hispanics received this imaging about 70 percent as frequently as whites.

“If African Americans and Hispanics aren’t getting the best imaging, this could be a piece of the puzzle explaining why these patients with lung cancer tend to have worse outcomes than white patients,” said researcher Rustain of the University of Colorado Cancer Center.

He points to a couple possible explanations for these disparities. First, PET-CT machines are relatively specialized and expensive, meaning that not all hospitals have the capability to offer this imaging. “Another, and potentially even more problematic factor, could be unconscious bias is a driver of the differences we found,” Morgan says.

See “African Americans, Hispanics less likely to receive recommended lung cancer imaging” by Garth Sundem on the Colorado Cancer Blogs website (March 11, 2020)

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