Cancer in Minorities and the Underserved
National Medical Association
Ethnic and racial minorities in general, and African Americans in particular, have higher rates of many cancers and bear a disproportionate burden of mortality from the disease compared to Caucasians in the U.S. African Americans are more likely to be diagnosed with and die from preventable cancers; more likely to be diagnosed with late-stage disease for cancers detectable through screening at an early stage; more likely to receive either no treatment or inferior treatment that does not meet currently accepted standards of care; more likely to have lower survival at each stage of most cancers; more likely to die of curable cancers, and more likely to suffer from cancer without pain control and other palliative care. These stark racial disparities in cancer burden arise from the broader social and historical context of racial inequality in the United States, including persistent racial inequities in income, education, housing, and healthcare delivery. Similar patterns of disparity characterize the poor.