This article was originally published here
J Thorac Dis. 2021 Jun;13(6):3801-3808. doi: 10.21037/jtd-20-3095.
The persistent challenges of disparities in healthcare have led to significantly distinct outcomes among patients from different racial, ethnic, and underserved populations. Esophageal Cancer, not unlike other surgical diseases, has seen significant disparities in care. Esophageal cancer is currently the 6th leading cause of death from cancer and the 8th most common cancer in the world. Surgical disparities in the care of patients with Esophageal Cancer have been described in the literature, with a prevailing theme associating minority status with worse outcomes. The goal of this review is to provide an updated account of the literature on disparities in Esophageal Cancer presentation and treatment. We will approach this task through a conceptual framework that highlights the five main themes of surgical disparities: patient-level factors, provider-level factors, system and access issues, clinical care and quality, and postoperative outcomes, care and rehabilitation. All five categories play a complex role in the delivery of high-quality, equitable care for patients with Esophageal Cancer. While describing disparities in care is the first step to correcting them, moving forward, we should focus on developing effective interventions to mitigate disparities, policies linking disparities to quality-of-care metrics, and delivery system change to enable minority patients to more easily access high volume centers.