Among people with one of the nine top cancers, cancer stage at diagnosis and upon starting treatment and survival rates vary according to race.

Chenyue Zhang, PhD, of the Shanghai Medical College in China, and colleagues studied data on 950,377 Asian, Black, white and Latino people diagnosed with prostate, ovarian, breast, stomach, pancreatic, lung, liver, esophageal or colorectal cancer between January 2004 and December 2010.

The investigators collected their data from the U.S. National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results database. Findings were published in JAMA Network Open.

Fifty-three percent of the cohort members were men. Seventy-two percent were white, and this group had an average age of 65 when they were diagnosed with cancer. Twelve percent were Black, with an average age of 62 at diagnosis. In addition, 6.9% were Asian, with an average age at diagnosis of 63; and 9.2% were Latino, with an average age at diagnosis of 61.

After adjusting the data to account for various differences among the cohort members, the study authors found that compared with Asians, African Americans were 14% more likely to have metastatic disease by the time of their cancer diagnosis.

Compared with Asians, Blacks were 37% less likely to receive definitive treatment and Latinos were 25% less likely.

Compared with Asians, whites were 31% more likely to have poorer cancer-specific survival  and 33% more likely to have poorer overall survival. Blacks were a respective 65% and 75% more likely to have poorer cancer-specific and overall survival, while Latinos were a respective 30% and 28% more likely to have poorer cancer-specific and overall survival.

“These findings,” the study authors concluded, “may help to optimize treatment and improve outcomes” for people diagnosed with major cancers.

To read the study, click here.