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Healthline Connects

National Minority Cancer Awareness Week: Unequal Burden


The National Cancer Institute (NCI) observes National Minority Cancer Awareness Week April 20- 26, 2008. NCI has continually demonstrated leadership in bringing the issue of health disparities of ethnic minorities to the forefront of the healthcare debate. Almost a decade ago they published a comprehensive report, The Unequal Burden of Cancer. Unfortunately, we haven't made much progress in listening to their findings:
    • Cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death in the US
    • 1 in 4 deaths is attributable to cancer. 1 in 3 Americans will eventually be diagnosed with cancer
    • Black people continue to carry greatest burden when it comes to cancer. Death rates are 25% higher.
Lack of health insurance coverage and unequal access to improvements in treatment are cited as reasons for this disparity. Lack of insurance leads to lack of ties to a primary care provider which leads to lack of screening and early detection that the insured take for granted.

In 2001, the NCI established the Center to Reduce Health Care Disparities to reduce the unequal burden of cancer in our communities. The NCI provides opportunities for career development and training of ethnic minorities in cancer research, education and outreach through the Comprehensive Minority Biomedical Branch (CMBB). These are exciting opportunities for young minority students to secure long term funding to pursue rewarding careers in cancer research. Outreach begins in high school through the Postdoctoral and Junior Investigator level, providing mentorship to attract and keep minorities in the scientific community. Let your schools, churches and community groups know about these wonderful resources for young people. Keep hope alive!

Thank you storycorps photostream for use of picture Sisters in Science: Black Women Scientists.
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