Study reveals racial disparity in brain tumour surgeries recommended to US patients

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A patient’s race may influence the recommendations they receive for the surgical removal of brain tumours, as per a recent, registry-based cohort analysis published in The Lancet by University of Minnesota Medical School (Minneapolis, USA) researchers.

According to the analysis, Black patients were independently associated with higher odds of being recommended against surgical resection in the four most common brain tumour types.

“Racial disparities have existed historically throughout healthcare but are often attributed to socioeconomic inequities,” said Andrew Venteicher (University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, USA). “New data collection and analysis techniques allow us to control for these factors and start to look at whether bias is happening at a provider level. Clearly, more work is needed to identify these biases and educate providers on how to address them.”

The research team studied more than 600,000 US patients that were diagnosed with an intracranial tumour in the past five decades. When compared to white patients, Black patients were more likely to be recommended against surgical removal of their tumour for the four most common types of intracranial tumour: meningioma, glioblastoma, pituitary adenoma and vestibular schwannoma. This was independent of the tumour size, as well as other clinical factors, patient demographic or socioeconomic status.

These findings provide the basis for future studies to gain further insight into unrecognised racial bias in clinical decision-making, determining the impact of the biases on patient outcomes and identifying mechanisms to reduce bias, according to the researchers.


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