These days we hear a lot about health disparities, cancer disparities, health equity, etc. What is this all about? And why do these terms seem to be more discussed now?
MedlinePlus, the National Institutes of Health’s website for patients, describes health disparities as “differences between groups of people. These differences can affect how frequently a disease affects a group, how many people get sick, or how often the disease causes death.”
For the World Health Organization (WHO), health equity is “the absence of unfair and avoidable or remediable differences in health among population groups defined socially, economically, demographically or geographically.”
Essentially, health equity is about everyone getting a fair shake when it comes to health and healthcare. [more]
So let’s see what that means in the real world. If we look at the numbers, we’ll see that cancer is not equally distributed across the population. For example:
- Hispanic women have the highest proportion of new cases for cervical cancer among all ethnic/racial groups.
- African Americans are more likely to develop cancer than any other racial or ethnic group.
These differences are not limited to racial and ethnic categories. If we consider education and income, there are differences in risk factors (factors that increase the chance of developing cancer) among groups.… Continue reading →