HEALTH

U of U study shows potential racial disparities in IMRT cancer treatment

Aug 15, 2022, 10:13 PM | Updated: Jan 5, 2023, 2:44 pm

ovarian cancer...

The Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Jordan Allred/Deseret News)

(Jordan Allred/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A recent study that includes research from Huntsman Cancer Institute shows that cancer patients of color may experience delays in getting a certain advanced cancer radiation treatment.

The study, published in the journal JCO Oncology Practice, found that non-Hispanic Black, Hispanic, and Asian patients are significantly more likely to experience delays in beginning intensity-modulated radiation therapy, or IMRT.

What is IMRT?

Researchers said IMRT matches the precise contours of a tumor to minimize the exposure of radiation to the surrounding healthy tissue. According to the National Library of Medicine, traditional 3D-conformal radiation often exposes organs next to the tumor to that full dose of radiation.

IMRT carries a larger price tag, according to the study.

Why is there a disparity in treatment?

The study found that the disparity could be connected to insurance issues — private, costlier insurance is likely to approve such radiation therapy more quickly. However, Black, non-white Hispanic, and other underrepresented patients, with less insurance or Medicare, might have to wait longer.

The study said that IMRT often requires prior authorization from insurance companies because of the higher price. Huntsman researchers said this causes worrisome delays and “may disproportionately affect underrepresented patients.”

“It’s a point of frustration for clinicians when you have to delay treatment for patients due to insurance authorization processes,” said Huntsman Cancer Institute researcher and one of the authors of the study, Dr. Ryan Hutten.

The study suggested that the prior-authorization process required by many private insurance companies might exacerbate the observed disparity for Black patients.

The study concludes by stating that racial and ethnic disparities in the use of IMRT exist and are actually worsening over time.

“We know there are enormous consequences to treatment delays, and we know minority groups have inferior oncologic outcomes,” Hutten said, adding that studies like his would hopefully help to improve the delivery of treatment to patients.

Related:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Health

boppy newborn infant lounger pillows recalled over deaths...

Becky Bruce

Boppy Newborn Lounger pillow blamed in more infant deaths

The Boppy Newborn Lounger has been linked to more infant deaths than previously thought, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. 

20 hours ago

A BYU psychologist tells Dave and Dujanovic that there are benefits to children being bored. Photo ...

Mark Jones

Are your children bored? Is it good or bad? An expert weighs in

A psychologist at BYU says there are some real benefits to children being bored.

2 days ago

(Canva)...

Michelle Lee

Don’t let an unhealthy gut ruin your life

SALT LAKE CITY – A lot of us suffer from an unhealthy gut. In fact, a new survey by MDVIP shows that about two-thirds of us suffer from this but don’t do anything about it. In the latest Let’s Get Moving with Maria podcast episode, host Maria Shilaos spoke with Dr. Andrea Klemes, Chief Medical […]

3 days ago

rabies bats...

Mark Jones

Bat found in SLC tests positive for rabies, health expert weighs in

A bat recently found in Salt Lake City has tested positive for rabies. Nicholas Rupp, of the Salt Lake City Health Department, joined KSL NewsRadio to explain why it was tested.

6 days ago

A small outbreak of whooping cough was detected in Cache Valley, Utah. The Bear River Health Depart...

Waverly Golden

Small whooping cough outbreak in Cache Valley

A small outbreak of whooping cough was detected in Cache Valley, Utah. The Bear River Health Department says vaccination is the best preventative measure.

7 days ago

I’ve been working steadily for hours but feel as if I haven’t even started. My attention is bei...

Sandee LaMotte, CNN

Our attention span is shrinking, studies say, but focus is possible

Researchers say people are concentrating less on any one screen, and are taking longer to refocus on an active work project.

8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

close up of rose marvel saliva blooms in purple...

Shannon Cavalero

Drought Tolerant Perennials for Utah

The best drought tolerant plants for Utah can handle high elevations, alkaline soils, excessive exposure to wind, and use of secondary water.

Group of cheerful team members high fiving each other...

Visit Bear Lake

How To Plan a Business Retreat in Bear Lake This Spring

Are you wondering how to plan a business retreat this spring? Read our sample itinerary to plan a team getaway to Bear Lake.

Cheerful young woman writing an assignment while sitting at desk between two classmates during clas...

BYU EMBA at the Marriott School of Business

Hear it Firsthand: 6 Students Share Their Executive MBA Experience at BYU’s Marriott School of Business

The Executive MBA program at BYU offers great opportunities. Hear experiences straight from students enrolled in the program.

Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a New Winter Activity? Try Skijoring in Bear Lake

Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and gates.

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...

Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer.

Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy.

U of U study shows potential racial disparities in IMRT cancer treatment