(HealthDay News) – For children with cancer, there are racial/ethnic disparities in survival, and socioeconomic status (SES) and health insurance contribute to these disparities, according to a study published online Sept. 30 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Jingxuan Zhao, M.P.H., from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues identified non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, and Hispanic children, as well as children of other race/ethnicities (younger than 18 years) diagnosed with cancer between 2004 and 2015 using the National Cancer Database.

The area-level social deprivation index (SDI) at patient residence was used to calculate SES, which was categorized into tertiles. Survival was compared by race/ethnicity, and the contribution of health insurance (private, Medicaid, and uninsured) and SES to survival was examined.

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The researchers found that non-Hispanic Blacks and Hispanics had worse survival than Whites for all cancers combined, leukemias and lymphomas, brain tumors, and solid tumors. After adjustment for health insurance and SDI separately, survival differences were attenuated; differences were further attenuated after adjustment for insurance and SDI together.

“This study highlighted the substantial racial/ethnic childhood cancer survival disparities and the contribution of area-level SES and health insurance on these disparities in the United States,” the authors write. “Programs to expand health insurance coverage may help reduce survival disparities associated with race/ethnicity.”

Two authors disclosed financial ties to AstraZeneca.

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