March 28, 2022

Racial disparities in COVID-19 outcomes of cancer patients

Editor's Note

This multi-center study by cancer centers across the US finds that having cancer and COVID-19 is associated with worse outcomes in Black patients compared with White patients.

Of 3,506 patients included in the analysis, 1,068 (30%) were Black and 2,438 (70%) were White.

At the time of COVID-19 diagnosis, Blacks had higher rates of preexisting comorbidities compared with Whites, including:

  • Obesity—45% of Blacks vs 38% of Whites
  • Diabetes—38% of Blacks vs 24% of Whites
  • Kidney disease—23% of Blacks vs 16% of Whites.

Though there was a similar distribution of cancer type and status as well as anticancer therapy among the patients, Blacks had worse illness and significantly worse COVID-19 severity.

The results show that Black cancer patients have worse outcomes than White cancer patients with COVID-19. Understanding and addressing the association of racial inequities with clinical outcomes is pivotal to reducing the disproportionate burden of diseases in Black patients, the researchers say.

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