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Differences in Late-Stage Diagnosis, Treatment, and Colorectal Cancer-Related Death Between Rural and Urban African Americans and Whites in Georgia


  • For further information, contact: Robert B. Hines, PhD, Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern University, PO Box 8015, Statesboro, GA 30460-8015; e-mail:


Purpose: Disparities in health outcomes due to a diagnosis of colorectal cancer (CRC) have been reported for a number of demographic groups. This study was conducted to examine the outcomes of late-stage diagnosis, treatment, and cancer-related death according to race and geographic residency status (rural vs urban).

Methods: This study utilized cross-sectional and follow-up data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program for all incident colon and rectal tumors diagnosed for the Atlanta and Rural Georgia Cancer Registries for the years 1992-2007.

Findings: Compared to whites, African Americans had a 40% increased odds (OR, 1.40; 95% CI, 1.30-1.51) of late-stage diagnosis, a 50% decreased odds (OR, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.37-0.68) of having surgery for colon cancer, and a 67% decreased odds (OR, 0.33; 95% CI, 0.25-0.44) of receiving surgery for rectal cancer. Rural residence was not associated with late stage at diagnosis or receipt of treatment. African Americans had a slightly increased risk of death from colon cancer (HR, 1.11; 95% CI, 1.00-1.24) and a larger increased risk of death due to rectal cancer (HR, 1.24; 95% CI, 1.14-1.35). Rural residents experienced a 15% increased risk of death (HR, 1.15; 95% CI, 1.01-1.32) due to colon cancer.

Conclusions: Further investigations should target African Americans and rural residents to gain insight into the etiologic mechanisms responsible for the poorer CRC outcomes experienced by these 2 segments of the population.