This is a must-read article from U.S. News and World Report for any minority patient, caregiver and/or family:
‘Urgent Need’ for Research on Cancer Among Minorities: U.S. Report
Cancer rate among minorities expected to double over next 20 years
By Madonna Behen – HealthDay Reporter
THURSDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) — The United States urgently needs to expand research and improve understanding of cancer among minority populations, according to a special report issued Thursday by the President’s Cancer Panel.
While minorities currently account for roughly one-third of the U.S. population, they are expected to become the collective majority by the year 2050, according to the report.
The panel noted that “minority and other underserved populations are disproportionately affected by certain cancers, are often diagnosed at later stages of disease, and frequently have lower rates of survival.”
What’s more, the incidence of cancer among minority populations is projected to nearly double over the next 20 years.
“Most of what we know about cancer is based on studies of non-Hispanic white people, but by the middle of the century that group will be only 38 percent of the population,” said panel member Margaret L. Kripke, a professor emerita of immunology at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. “We need more data on cancer among minority populations so that we can begin to implement specific preventive measures.”
The report recommends more research into sociological factors that may explain disparities in cancer mortality among minorities.
“There have been a lot of studies in recent years trying to understand genetic differences associated with cancer susceptibility, but there are also cultural factors that can affect cancer mortality,” said Kripke. “In some cultures, people are so afraid of a cancer diagnosis that they don’t seek treatment until it’s very late.”
Current cancer screening guidelines should be evaluated, the panel noted, “to determine their accuracy in assessing disease burden in diverse populations.”
“One-size-fits-all screening guidelines don’t work,” Kripke said. “For example, the breast cancer screening guidelines have been loosened up so that women can start having mammograms later and may be screened less often, but we know that there is an early age of onset of breast cancer among Latino populations, and so if you change the guidelines based on the majority of people, these women will be left out.”
This is only the first half of the article. Go to: Urgent Need/U.S News.com to read the rest.
Repeat after me: Doctors and Researchers need to push harder for individualized treatment options. One size never fits all when trying to slow down cancer! Minority genetics doesn’t make this any easier–not to mention economic difficulties and cultural road blocks.
There just aren’t enough hours in the day (or money in the bank) to solve all of the issues that need solving, are there? Feel good and keep smiling! Pat