During National Minority Cancer Awareness Week, Progress is Recognized, But Racial Disparities in Cancer Outcomes Still Leave Room For Improvement

National Minority Cancer Awareness Week 2019 is being observed this week, April 8 to 14. The purpose of this awareness campaign, supported by the American Cancer Society, is to “highlight the incidence of cancer among minorities.” According to the American Cancer Society, there has been some promising news in the past few decades regarding cancer deaths between African-Americans and whites. They have found that in especially three types of cancer: lung, colorectal, and prostate, overall cancer deaths have been dropping faster in African-Americans over whites, thus narrowing the gap in cancer deaths. However, the overall statistics in cancer disparities are not so encouraging.

The National Cancer Institute under the National Institutes of Health (NIH), examined cancer disparities across various groups in the United States. The NIH found that some of the risk factors that contributed to such disparities were:

  • Genetic and Biological Factors
  • Health Care Access
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Chemical and Physical Exposures
  • Diet
  • Physical Inactivity

Some of the cancer disparities that were found were:

  • African-American women are twice as likely than white women to be diagnosed and die from triple negative breast cancer.
  • American-Indians/Alaska-Natives have the highest rates and deaths of kidney cancer.
  • American-Indians/Alaska-Natives have the highest rates of liver cancer than any other racial or ethnic group.
  • African-American men are more than twice as likely than white men to die from prostate cancer.
  • Women in rural areas are twice as likely than women in urban areas to die from cervical cancer.
  • African-Americans are twice as likely than whites to be diagnosed and die from multiple myeloma.

Source: https://www.cancer.gov/PublishedContent?Images/about-cancer/understanding/disparities/disparities-infographic__v200389730.png