Health care access and poverty do not explain the higher esophageal cancer mortality in African Americans

Jordan A G Miller, Robert V Rege, Clifford Y. Ko, Edward H. Livingston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background Esophageal cancer mortality is increased in African Americans relative to white patients. The reasons for this are unknown but are thought to be related to inadequate access to health care secondary to a higher poverty rate in African American populations. Methods The National Health Interview Survey database for years 1986 to 1994 were combined and linked to the National Death Index. Individuals who died from esophageal carcinoma were assessed in the combined database, thus enabling detailed analysis of their socioeconomic status, race, and health care access. Results Poverty was 4-fold more frequent in African Americans who died from esophageal carcinoma than whites. Despite poverty, African American patients' access to health care was good and was not statistically related to increased mortality. Conclusions Although the esophageal carcinoma mortality rate is higher in African Americans than in whites, it is not clearly related to the presence of poverty or to limited health care access. The higher mortality may be related to lifestyle differences, environmental exposure, or difference in disease biology, but it is not related exclusively to socioeconomic factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-26
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2004


  • African American
  • Epidemiology
  • Esophageal neoplasms
  • Ethnology
  • Health care systems
  • National Death Index
  • National Health Interview Survey
  • Outcomes assessment
  • Poverty
  • Risk factors
  • Social class
  • Socioeconomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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