U.S. CANCER HEALTH DISPARITIES
Great strides have been made in cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment, and, in certain cases,
cure. However, not all segments of the U.S. population have benefited equally from these advances
(see sidebar on What Are Cancer Health Disparities?, p. 15). As a result, differences that should not exist
in cancer incidence, prevalence, death, survivorship, and burden of cancer exist among certain segments
of the U.S. population. Some examples of cancer health disparities are highlighted here:
The overall cancer death rate among black men is 27 percent higher
than among white men ( 2).
The overall cancer death rate among black women is 14 percent higher
than among white women ( 2).
Prostate cancer death rates among black men are more than
double those for any other racial or ethnic group ( 3).
Hispanic children are 23 percent more likely to develop leukemia
than non-Hispanic children ( 10).
Asians and Pacific Islanders are about twice as likely to develop
and die from liver cancer as their white counterparts ( 2).
American Indian/Alaska Native women are 62 percent more likely
to develop kidney cancer than white women, and 80 percent
more likely to die from the disease ( 2).
Colorectal cancer death rates in the lower Mississippi Delta, west central Appalachia,
and eastern Virginia/North Carolina are elevated compared with the rest
of the United States ( 11).
Advanced-stage ovarian cancer patients of low socioeconomic status
are 32 percent less likely to receive standard overall care compared with
those of high socioeconomic status ( 12).
Lesbian women are less likely to undergo screening for breast and cervical cancer
compared with heterosexual women ( 13, 14); however, more research is needed to
determine whether this finding translates into a disparity in cancer incidence.