Studies Released at Conference Examine Racial, Ethnic Cancer Disparities
The following summarizes news coverage of studies presented this week at the American Association for Cancer Research's Science of Cancer Health Disparities conference in Carefree, Ariz.
- Cancer survivors: Black and Hispanic cancer survivors are twice as likely as whites to forgo medical care service in large part because of out-of-pocket expenses, according to researchers from the National Cancer Institute, Reuters Health reports. Kathryn Weaver, a cancer prevention researcher at NCI, and colleagues identified 6,602 adult cancer survivors -- 6.4% were black, 4.8% were Hispanic and 88.8% were white. Overall, 11.3% skipped dental care, 9.9% skipped prescription drugs, 7.8% skipped general medical care and 2.7% skipped mental health care because of cost. When compared with whites, Hispanics were 2.14-fold more likely to forgo prescription drugs because of cost and blacks were 87% more likely. For dental care, Hispanics were 2.31-fold more likely than whites to forgo services, and blacks were 57% more likely to do so (Reuters Health, 2/5).
- HPV vaccine: Only one in four eligible black girls has received the human papillomavirus vaccine Gardasil, even though most of the black community believes that the inoculation is safe, according to a survey conducted by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Health, HealthDay/USA Today reports. Among the 71 respondents -- of whom most were black -- many said despite controversies surrounding the vaccine, they believe Gardasil is "safe," "effective" and a "wise choice." Forty-five parents or guardians of the girls had the same views, but most could not recall being informed of the vaccine's availability by their health care provider. In addition, nearly 44% of the girls who had not been vaccinated said they would likely do so soon (McKeever, HealthDay/USA Today, 2/5).
- Mammograms: Mistrust of the health care system might cause minority women to delay breast cancer screening, according to researchers from Michigan State University, Reuters Health reports. Researcher Karen Williams and colleagues examined medical mistrust and breast cancer screening rates among 116 black, 113 Hispanic and 112 Arab-American women. Among those surveyed, 49% believed that health care organizations sometimes "mislead" or "deceive" patients, and black women had the highest level of mistrust. Forty-four percent of women who had never received a clinical breast exam agreed that "health care organizations have sometimes done harmful experiments without our knowledge." Ninety-four percent of the black women were insured, compared with 45% of Hispanics and 43% of Arab-American women. Williams said that while insurance status plays a significant role in breast cancer screening, the link between medical mistrust and low screening rates cannot be discounted (Rauscher, Reuters Health, 2/5).