Monthly Archives: September 2012

On the difference between ‘disparities’ and ‘differences’

By Tim Byers, MD, MPH

 

There are many definitions of health disparities, but my favorite is disparities are differences that should not exist.  This definition reflects the social injustice in how some races and ethnicities suffer more from cancer than others.   

I like this definition of disparities (or health inequity, as many people are calling it) because it can motivate us to fix the problem – the social, economic, cultural, and political barriers that keep some racial and ethnic minorities from getting  cancer prevention, early detection, and state-of-the-art cancer treatment.  This obviously can be harmful to racial and ethnic minorities.

But this definition is also a problem. It can cause us to focus so much on the differences that should not exist (the social and economic inequalities) that we ignore  factors driving racial and ethnic differences that may actually have a positive influence on people’s risk of developing or dying from cancer.  Why is that important? [more]

If we look at differences in cancer risk according to race/ethnicity we can see many examples where cancer risk, stage at diagnosis, and death rates are higher for racial/ethnic minorities. Prostate cancer and breast cancer among African Americans are clear disparities.… Continue reading →

Cancer Statistics About Hispanics Released

Hispanics have lower cancer screening rates; are diagnosed with cancer at later stages

By Rebecca Siegel, MPH

A new Cancer Facts & Figures for Hispanics/Latinos has been released in conjunction with National Hispanic Heritage Month. This publication is updated every 3 years and is a resource for current information about cancer among Hispanics. But you may be wondering why we produce a 35-page report devoted solely to cancer statistics for Hispanics.

For 60 years the American Cancer Society’s Research department has promoted cancer prevention and control by providing cancer data in a user-friendly format called Cancer Facts & Figures. Over the years, new Facts & Figures publications have been developed to highlight a particular cancer type or a specific population. In 2000, to answer the increasing demand for more in-depth information on cancer in the growing Hispanic community, the inaugural Cancer Facts & Figures for Hispanics/Latinos was introduced.

 

Hispanics Fastest-Growing Minority in US

 

Promoting cancer prevention and control in the Hispanic community is more important than ever because Hispanics are the largest and fastest growing minority population in the United States.… Continue reading →