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Cancer Center

Who We Serve

Our catchment area contains 25 counties that span the eastern portion of Wisconsin. This unique region includes 3.4M residents, 58.6% of Wisconsin's total population and includes seven of the state’s 10 most populous counties. This region is vibrant and diverse, with 65% of the state’s total minority population and 84% and 73% of the state’s African American and Hispanic populations, respectively. These populations have significant disparities in cancer incidence and outcomes.

In particular, African Americans in our area have a higher incidence of, and worse outcomes for lung, colorectal, breast, prostate and pancreatic cancer. Disparities also exist in many other underserved communities throughout our area. Our high rates of cancer are exacerbated by ingrained social and economic challenges. While 14% of all residents in the catchment area are below the poverty line, the rate is much higher in the city of Milwaukee (29%), and even higher for Hispanics (32%) and African Americans (40%).

The MCW Cancer Center is the primary provider of cancer education, screening and care to Wisconsin’s ethnic minorities and other underserved populations. The cancer centers in Madison and Chicago do not reach these communities. For example, <1% of all cancer patients in our catchment area are ever seen in Madison or Chicago and this rate is even less for African American cancer patients.

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Cancer Research Issues Relevant to Our Area

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Hyper-segregation (racial and economic segregation)

Poverty 

Lack of access to healthcare, insurance

Incarceration

Food deserts

Obesity

Tobacco, alcohol and drug use 

Low health literacy