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Black, Hispanic lung cancer patients less likely to get advanced genetic testing, more because they tend to see physicians who don’t do a lot of testing

Blacks and Hispanics are about 8 percent less likely to get timely next-generation genetic sequencing of their lung cancer, less because their physician is treating them differently and more because they tend to see physicians or medical practices that don’t do a lot of genetic testing. That’s the conclusion of a new study of about 14,000 lung cancer patients diagnosed since 2018 presented at a 2023 scientific meeting.

Obtaining a molecular profile of the lung cancer tumor with next-generation genetic sequencing is becoming standard in cancer treatment, says the study’s first author Gregory Vidal, MD. “Knowing what the biomarkers are is absolutely important for drug selection and survival,” he says.

“We know that there’s a problem. The problem has always existed. There’s disparity in care in oncology particularly. Those physicians who do not test a lot, we need to focus on them. Why don’t you test and educate the practices who don’t test a lot. Go to them, educate.

“Studies like this are trying to figure out what the problem is and trying to address it so that every patient, at least in the United States gets very good equal care and hopefully very similar outcomes.

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