Study finds that African-American people with colon cancer have lower survival rates

African-American people diagnosed with colon cancer have consistently lower survival rates compared with white patients, despite a nationwide decline in colon cancer deaths overall. According to a new study published on January 26, 2015 by Journal of Clinical Oncology, this gap in survival rates can be decreased with the delivery of evidence-based care within an integrated health care system, which includes hospital-based care, outpatient services, and rehabilitation.

In this study, investigators from the Stanford University School of Medicine evaluated the records of more than 30,000 patients diagnosed with and treated for colon cancer and compared rates of delivery of care as recommended by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) within the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) for Colon Cancer for patients within integrated and non-integrated health care systems. The study found that all patients, including minorities, treated within integrated health systems received higher rates of evidence-based care and had better overall survival rates.

"For 20 years, the NCCN Guidelines have been recognized as the standard of cancer care in the United States. NCCN combines evidence, experience, and choice so that multidisciplinary cancer treatment teams—including patients—are empowered to make informed decisions about cancer care. NCCN applauds the Stanford researchers for taking a critical look at cancer care from the health care system perspective and recognizing the significance of transparent, evidence-based care," said Robert W. Carlson, MD, Chief Executive Officer, NCCN.

Available to physicians and patients free of charge at, the NCCN Guidelines® are a comprehensive set of evidence-based treatment recommendations detailing the sequential management decisions and interventions that currently apply to 97 percent of cancers affecting people in the United States. Written by experts from the 25 NCCN Member Institutions, the NCCN Guidelines are continuously updated and revised to reflect new data and clinical information. The intent of the NCCN Guidelines is to assist in decision-making process of individuals involved in cancer care—including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, payers, patients, and their caregivers and families—with the ultimate goal of advancing care so patients can live better lives.

"The big takeaway in this paper is that…following evidence-based guidelines gives all patients the best chance for survival. Our work also suggests a real opportunity to equalize these racial differences," lead author Kim Rhoads, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Surgery and a member of the Stanford Cancer Institute, said in a news release about the study.

"As a network of 25 of the world's leading integrated cancer centers, NCCN understands the value of comprehensive cancer care," said Dr. Carlson. "The high caliber of patient care at these treatment centers is mirrored in the research performed by their investigators, together leading to superior care and outcomes."


National Comprehensive Cancer Network


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