A study published in the journal Cancer finds that black patients diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma (RCC)—the most common type of kidney cancer in adults—have a lower survival rate than white patients. Using data from the National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program, Wong-Ho Chow of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and her colleagues identified nearly 40,000 patients diagnosed with RCC from 1992-2007. Approximately 89% of those identified patients were white.  However, Chow discovered that there were proportionally more blacks diagnosed with RCC with localized cancer and under the age of 50.

Whites were more likely to have clear cell RCC, the most common subtype of renal cell cancer. Meanwhile, papillary or chromophobe RCC was more common among blacks. Despite the fact that patients with clear cell RCC were found to have a poorer prognosis than those with papillary or chromophobe RCC, the researchers discovered that white patients still fared better: whites had a 5-year survival rate of 72.6%, whereas blacks had a 5-year survival rate of 68%. However, black patients who did not receive surgical treatment had a higher survival rate than whites (14.5% versus 10.5%).

Overall, whites had a consistently higher rate of survival than blacks regardless of age, sex, or tumor size.  Women had higher survival rates than men, and so did younger patients compared with older ones. However, further study is needed to determine the factors contributing to this racial disparity.

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