This week the American Cancer Society reports in the journal Cancer that African Americans continue to receive inferior cancer treatment. By assessing 143,000 Medicare patients—with lung, breast, colon, rectal or prostate cancer—over the age of 65 between the years 1992 to 2002, researchers found that blacks were less likely to come forward and receive the recommended types of treatment than their white counterparts.

Patients with early-stage lung cancer were 19 percent less likely to receive tumor removal; patients with rectal cancer were 27 percent less likely to get additional chemotherapy; and men diagnosed with prostate cancer were 11 percent less likely to get surgical or radiation treatment.

Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, told Reuters that he believed that a history of institutionalized racism—in government, healthcare and school systems—along with social and economic gaps play huge roles in their findings.

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