Curtis Wray, M.D., an assistant professor of surgery at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School, has been awarded a grant from the American Cancer Society to find ways to improve the care and quality of life for people with liver cancer. Liver cancer is the sixth most common type of cancer in the world and about 750,000 new cases were diagnosed in 2008.
Wray is using his 5-year, $729,000 grant to study disparities in the life expectancy of patients with advanced liver cancer, which averages about seven months but is considerably less in the underserved population. In an effort to pinpoint factors contributing to this disparity, Wray is following liver cancer patients in the Harris County Hospital District, which is the community's leading integrated healthcare system focused on caring for the medically underserved individuals and families in Harris County.
"We know the outcomes for people with liver cancer have been suboptimal in an underserved population," he said. "We want to know why and what can be done to improve the quality of life for these patients."
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