Tackling Cancer Health Disparities

Despite research-driven progress against breast cancer for many, outcomes vary among women of different races and ethnicities, including women of Hispanic origin.

Research has fueled significant progress against breast cancer – the five-year survival rate for female breast cancer patients in the U.S. is now 89 percent, compared with 63 percent in the early 1960s.

tackling cancer health disparities

Despite that progress, breast cancer outcomes vary among women of different races and ethnicities. For example, U.S. women of Hispanic origin are less likely to receive a breast cancer diagnosis than their non-Hispanic counterparts but are more likely to die from their disease, even when their age, cancer stage, and tumor characteristics are similar.

There are a myriad of complex and interrelated reasons for the differences in breast cancer incidence and outcomes among U.S. Hispanics/Latinas and non-Hispanics. However, given that the Hispanic/Latino population is the largest and fastest-growing minority group in the U.S., it is clear that more research is needed if we are to address these breast cancer health disparities.

Two studies presented at the 7th AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved illustrate the power of research to illuminate and ultimately address cancer health disparities.