Cancer Health Disparities
The National Cancer Institute defines cancer health disparities as adverse differences in cancer measures such as the number of new cases, the number of deaths, cancer–related health complications, survivorship, and quality of life after cancer treatment, screening rates, and stage at diagnosis that exist among certain population groups. These differences in the burden of exist between racial and ethnic groups, socioeconomic groups, geography, and more.
Many complex and interrelated factors that contribute to cancer health disparities, making it difficult to isolate and study the relative contribution of each. However, given that a significant proportion of the U.S. population is affected by cancer health disparities, it is important that research into these specific issues continues.
Some areas of intensive research investigation are furthering our understanding of the contribution of biological factors such as genetics and social determinants of health such as neighborhood influences to the adverse outcomes for certain U.S. populations. Only with new insights obtained through research and through the inclusion of all segments of the U.S. population in clinical trials will we develop and implement interventions that will eliminate cancer for all.
- Men living in Appalachia have a lung cancer incidence rate that is 26 percent higher than that for men living in the remainder of the United States.
- Adolescents living in metropolitan areas have a higher HPV vaccination uptake – 65.9 percent – compared with those in nonmetropolitan areas – 50.4 percent.
- Adults in Massachusetts are significantly more likely to be up to date with colorectal cancer screening than those in Wyoming – 76 percent compared with 58 percent.
- African American women have double the incidence rate of triple–negative breast cancer compared with white American women.
- Black and Hispanic patients with breast, lung, colorectal, and prostate cancer were almost 30 percent less likely than white patients to enroll in clinical trials testing treatments for these four types of cancer.
- African American men have a prostate cancer death rate more than double that of men in other racial groups.
- American Indians/Alaska Natives are less likely to be up to date with colorectal cancer screening compared to white adults in this country – 64 percent vs. 48 percent.
- Hispanic women are 69 percent more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at an advanced stage than white women.
- Women in the highest income bracket are significantly more likely to be up to date with cervical cancer screening than women in the lowest income bracket – 79 percent vs. 59 percent.
- Patients with metastatic bladder cancer who are of low socioeconomic status are 50 percent less likely to receive chemotherapy compared with those of high socioeconomic status.
- Adolescents and young adults surviving two or more years after a Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis who lived in low socioeconomic neighborhoods had 29 percent higher likelihood of respiratory system diseases compared with those in high socioeconomic neighborhoods.