Study author Asal Mohamadi Johnson noted that prior research has "established that black patients have higher cancer mortality rates and are less likely to receive appropriate treatment than whites."
But "our study focused on difference in survival among black patients resulting from different levels of neighborhood segregation," said Johnson, an assistant professor of integrative health science at Stetson University.
"We suspect the combination of poverty and segregation likely restricts access to quality medical care," she said. "Many health disparities are likely a product of structural disparities in the U.S. with deep roots in social and political systems."
The study noted that the black patients analyzed in Georgia were 43 percent less likely to get NSCLC surgery than white patients, across all areas.
Blacks also had lower rates of five-year survival from the disease than whites, according to the study. "Blacks have a 20 percent increased risk of death compared with white patients when adjusted only for patient characteristics," the study noted.
But that disparity "disappeared after adjustment for surgery and its interaction with combined segregation deprivation," the study found.
In other words, when blacks were living in less segregated communities and received the surgery, their death rates were in line with their white counterparts.
But blacks who lived in the most segregated areas with high levels of economic deprivation were 31 percent more likely to die than other blacks with lung cancer living in areas that were the least segregated and least economically deprived.