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

A new study finds that reports of bad weather and air actually decrease ridership on the UTA....
Devin Oldroyd

Relief from inversion and poor air quality may be in Utah’s near future

The Beehive State is in the middle of some thick inversion and poor air quality, but relief may be on the way according to the National Weather Service.
1 day ago
A study by Intermountain Health that spanned 40 years and sought answers about the health of people...
Simone Seikaly

Intermountain’s 40-year study provides insight into weight-loss surgery

In some cases the results from the weight-loss surgery study were expected. But at least one result could be a cause for alarm and caution.
1 day ago
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service has issued a recall for mil...
Simone Seikaly

Check your pantry, a Conagra canned meat recall may affect you

Millions of pounds of canned meat and poultry products (mainly Vienna sausages) are involved in the Conagra recall.
1 day ago
Two temporary federal pandemic emergency assistance programs are coming to an end in the coming mon...
Waverly Golden

As two federal pandemic emergency-assistance programs near an end, Cox has solutions

Two temporary federal pandemic emergency assistance programs are coming to an end in the coming months due to more job opportunities.
1 day ago
FILE - A doctor loads a dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, at ...
Aimee Cobabe

Bill banning vaccine passports heading to Utah Senate

A bill to ban vaccine passports is heading out of the Utah House and into the Utah Senate. The bill is similar to a failed bill from 2022.
5 days ago
A bill on transgender healthcare — banning transgender-related surgeries and puberty blockers for...
Eliza Pace, KSL TV and Aimee Cobabe, KSL NewsRadio

Utah Senate approves changes to transgender care bill, passes on to Gov. Cox

SB16 bans gender-confirming surgeries for minors and also places a moratorium on puberty blockers for minors.
8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

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, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
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. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
U of U study shows potential racial disparities in IMRT cancer treatment