Although a growing body of research has improved our understanding of racial disparities in our healthcare system, there remains a need to better identify the exact moments when the care provided is fundamentally different for Black patients than for White patients.
In our analysis of 330 million unique patient journeys, we found that among colorectal cancer patients who underwent chemotherapy or surgery, Black patients waited an average of eight days longer than White patients for treatment following an initial colorectal cancer diagnosis.
And, among patients newly diagnosed with colorectal cancer, Black patients presented with more advanced disease. 20.9% of Black patients were diagnosed after their cancer had already metastasized, compared with 18.6% of White patients.
New colorectal cancer diagnoses lagged significantly below the 2019 average throughout the pandemic. This finding held true across racial groups. Between July 2020 and July 2021, the number of new cases vacillated between 7% and 27% below the pre-pandemic average.
Early detection and treatment are vital steps in reducing racial health inequities and improving outcomes for those with CRC. Deepening our understanding of exactly when, where, and how patients experience racial disparities in care will help inform our strategies to build an equitable, high-quality healthcare system.
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