Oncology Surgery Disparities Among Patients With Esophageal Cancer


According to Allan Pickens, MD, surgery outcomes differ in minority patients and oncology surgeons are researching the issue.

Allan Pickens, MD, director of Thoracic Oncology Emory Healthcare, and professor, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine, discusses disparities occurring in patients with esophageal cancers.


0:08 | The work that we've done in terms of racial disparity has been more from the surgical side of things. How we can affect the surgical treatment of esophageal cancer in underrepresented minorities. What we've found in looking at the data is that it tends to have a more devastating effect in the minority population. There is a poor survival for esophageal cancer in minorities.

0:36 | We are looking at the multifactorial causes of that, 1 being access to early diagnosis and treatment. The fact that many minorities are often offered the non-surgical options for treatment, they are more likely to proceed with definitive chemoradiation as opposed to surgical procedures. Has that mostly been related to [having] access to surgeons or qualified surgeons to do their procedures at smaller hospitals and smaller, underrepresented communities? Perhaps there are not dedicated esophageal cancer surgeons that can take care of it. And if they're required to travel hours away to a center of excellence that has those physicians, they perhaps don't have the resources to do that in some instances. So, how do we help in those situations? How do we make it available for virtual visits with physicians in other locations so that they only have to make one visit for the preop and perhaps the actual operation. Then they go back to their community and get their follow-up care with physicians that they are in contact with. So, looking at that disparity and how it affects the survival of soft tissue cancer is truly important.

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