A cross-sectional analysis published in Blood demonstrated that people with cancer from marginalized racial and ethnic groups were more likely to experience an adverse mental or physical outcome than their non-Hispanic White (NHW) peers.
This study examined outcomes of 48,200 cancer survivors published in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System database between 2014-2020. Using prevalence estimates and Mantel Haenszel prevalence ratios, the investigators determined that non-Hispanic Black (NHB) individuals were 1.46 times more likely to experience inadequate sleep, 1.11 times more likely to have poor mental health, and 0.96 times less likely to receive a depression diagnosis than NHWs.
Hispanic patients with cancer also demonstrated a 1.16-fold increase in sleep inadequacy compared with NHW patients with cancer.
While not often reported, there was a significant association between experiencing racism and reporting adverse health outcomes. The association between overt racism and increased reports of adverse mental and physical health outcomes was attributed to emotional distress secondary to racism.
Outcomes weren’t only worse for NHB and Hispanic individuals. Other races and ethnicities with higher adverse outcomes included American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.
“Our findings suggest NHB and Hispanic survivors may benefit from interventions targeted to assess and improve sleep and mental health,” the investigators concluded. They also encouraged health care providers to screen patients of marginalized racial and ethnic groups for experienced racism.
Their study adds to the evidence that “disparities in physical and mental health outcomes exist for cancer survivors of all ages from historically marginalized racial and ethnic groups.”
Race, ethnicity and experienced racism are associated with adverse physical and mental health outcomes among cancer survivors