Minority Cancer Awareness Week Highlights Health Disparities

Cancer affects each person differently, yet research shows minority groups are consistently dealing with a greater cancer burden than whites. Researchers contribute most of this to factors like poverty and lack of access to high-quality treatment. The American Cancer Society‘s Minority Cancer Awareness Week is a public health campaign focused on addressing this disparity.

African Americans have the shortest survival and highest death rate of any racial or ethnic group in the US for most cancers. Cancer is the leading cause of death among Hispanics, at 22% The LGBTQ+ suffers from a wide variety of cancer, but some of their biggest struggles come from fear of discrimination, low rates of health insurance, and negative experiences with health care providers.

The American Cancer Society actively fights these cancer disparities at every point. Some of their goals are to improve access to screenings and treatment, including programs to help people quit smoking. They also fund research to help understand the barriers that different minority groups may face and work to create strategies to overcome them.

How You Can Help

While the most obvious career choice to help people fighting cancer would be oncology, there are several ways that other health care careers would give you a similar opportunity to make a difference. Nutritionists, community health workers and social workers can all help with some of the other challenges that cancer brings to a community and family.

Medical researchers play an important  part of the cancer battle. Working with data and the effects on health care coverage changes and early treatment options to these racial and ethnic groups will help health care providers make the changes necessary when treating them. The first step is to recognize that diversity within health care is present and complex.

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