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Survival Rates Among Patients With Cancer Widely Differ Based on Residence

June 17, 2020

Overall survival in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia appears to vary widely depending on where the patient lives, according to a poster from the 2020 ASCO Virtual Scientific Program.

The finding stemmed from an investigation into cancer outcomes for 784,341 patients in Georgia between 1990 and 2016.

“We assessed overall survival of patients with all cancers, chronic myeloid leukemia, and lung cancer given the dramatic improvement in patient outcomes in chronic myeloid leukemia since 2000 compared to the consistently poor outcome in lung cancer,” researchers wrote. “We assessed distance from each county to the one National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in Georgia.”

According to the study, 5-year overall survival of patients with any cancer in Georgia was 55%, ranging from 33% to 82% depending on the county. When researchers looked at 5-year overall survival for each decade, they found minimal improvement: 52% for 1990 to 1999, 55% for 2000 to 2009, and 55% for 2010 to 2016. 

Among patients with lung cancer, 5-year overall survival was 15%, with little difference between counties and decades, researchers reported.

“However, the geographic difference was more prominent in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia,” researchers wrote, “and widened after introduction of modern therapy.”  

For patients with chronic myeloid leukemia, 5-year overall survival ranged from 20% to 42% for the period of 1990 to 1999. In 2000 to 2009, the 5-year overall survival broadened to a range of 14% to 83%. From 2010 to 2016, it ranged 14% to 80%. 

Age, median county income, African American, and distance to National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center were predictive factors, analysis showed. 

“The disparity of cancer care exists between geographic locations,” researchers concluded. “The geographic difference of survival seems more prominent when highly effective therapies are available.” 

Jolynn Tumolo


Sakurai K, Kantarjian HM, Sasaki K, et al. Geographic disparity of outcome in patients with cancer over decades: the surveillance, epidemiology, and end results. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 38:2020 (suppl; abstr 1574).

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