Saurabh Chawla, MD
Saurabh Chawla, MD

Oral 9 Pancreatic Cancer in Urban African Americans- Too Young, Too Late

Author Insight from Saurabh Chawla MD, Jessica Liu MD, Tabassum Khan, Maria C Russell MD, Grady Memorial Hospital & Emory School of Medicine 

What’s new here and important for clinicians?

Our study suggests that our inner-city hospital African American patients present with more advanced pancreatic cancer at a younger age and are less likely to receive treatment than reported by national databases. Smoking and diabetes remain significantly associated with pancreatic cancer in young African Americans. Disparities in treatment may be related to socioeconomic and cultural factors, which should be further investigated. Furthermore, the early onset and aggressive course of pancreatic cancer in this young cohort may be associated with a difference in tumor biology and genetics, which should be further analyzed to guide early diagnosis and treatment.

What do patients need to know?

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths and is predicted to be the second leading cause of cancer mortality in the United States by 2020. This is because the survival of patients with pancreatic cancer is very poor unless diagnosed early. We have noticed that our African American patients were much younger, presented at an advanced stage, and were much less likely to get treated than what has been reported in the large national databases. In our study, which was conducted retrospectively in a large, urban safety net hospital, we found that the median age of our patients was 10 years younger than that which has been reported in national databases.

While larger prospective studies are needed to confirm our findings, this may suggest that there is a difference in cancer risk behavior among African Americans compared to other groups. There could also be socioeconomic or cultural factors that prevented our patients from seeking care early. Identification of these key factors may lead to early detection and better care for our patients.

Read the abstract

Author Contact

Saurabh Chawla, MD, Grady Memorial Hospital & Emory School of Medicine


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