Original Article

Geographic Variations of Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Late-Stage Diagnosis of Childhood Cancer in Texas

Authors: Niaz Morshed, PhD, Kelly Haskard-Zolnierek, PhD, F. Benjamin Zhan, PhD


Objectives: This study aimed to identify small geographic areas where the childhood cancer yearly incidence and late-stage diagnosis rates were disproportionately higher among racial/ethnic minorities (Hispanics and non-Hispanic African Americans) in Texas.

Methods: The study examined childhood cancer disparities in Texas from 2005 to 2014, based on geographic location and race/ethnicity. Relative (risk ratio) and absolute (risk difference) measures were used to investigate racial disparities of childhood cancer late-stage diagnosis in small geographic areas (census tracts). The study investigated childhood cancer yearly incidence- and late-stage diagnosis rates for three racial groups combined. The study also analyzed the temporal change of childhood cancer late-stage diagnosis rates based on the data from census tracts where disparities existed for Hispanics and non-Hispanic African Americans compared with a non-Hispanic white reference group.

Results: A total of 54% of the cases in the study cohort were diagnosed in the late stage. Although there were fewer non-Hispanic African Americans cases compared with non-Hispanic white and Hispanic cases, they showed significant geographic variation in racial/ethnic disparities compared with the non-Hispanic white reference group. The study also revealed that 58 census tracts for non-Hispanic African Americans and 47 census tracts for Hispanics (of 5265) had significantly higher late-stage diagnosis rates compared with non-Hispanic whites. The findings also demonstrated consistent increases in incidence and late-stage diagnosis from 2005 to 2014 for all cases combined.

Conclusions: Most of the significant census tracts with a higher late-stage diagnosis rate for Hispanics were located on the outskirts of the Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio areas. In contrast, geographic disparities of childhood cancer late-stage diagnosis for non-Hispanic African Americans were found inside the large metropolitan areas of Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth. The findings of this study will help prioritize the geographical allocation of resources, which, in turn, will help to facilitate preventive healthcare services and alleviate the disease burden in children.

Posted in: Medical Oncology8

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