Racial Differences in Cancer Incidence and Mortality
There are varying rates of cancer incidence and mortality among the different races and socioeconomic statuses. As shown in the graph below, African American men continue to have a disproportionately higher incidence of cancer.
Other disparities are outlined below:
- Breast cancer—incidence rates are higher in Caucasian women than in African American women, but mortality rates are higher in African Americans.
- Colorectal cancer—excessively affects African Americans both in incidence and mortality, and African Americans tend to diagnosed with more advanced colorectal cancer.
- Cervical cancer—African American women are twice as likely to be diagnosed and two thirds more likely to experience mortality from cervical cancer than white women.
- Prostate Cancer—African Americans have more than twice the incidence rate compared to Caucasians.
- Stomach Cancer - Asian/Pacific Islanders have higher incidence rates than any other racial group.
Factors Contributing to These Health Disparities
There are complex, interrelated factors that contribute to health disparities regarding cancer. However, the two most common factors seem to be a lack of health care coverage and low socioeconomic status (SES). According to the National Cancer Institute, SES is a stronger predictor of cancer risk and risk of cancer death than race. Access to health care affects the stage at which a person is diagnosed with cancer and living conditions determine whether a person is exposed to certain environmental toxins that can increase the risk of cancer. SES also appears to play a major role in influencing the prevalence of behavioral risk factors for cancer. This includes smoking, lack of physical activity, obesity, and excessive alcohol consumption. African Americans generally have a lower SES and subsequently less access to health care, which may lead to the disparities in cancer incidence and mortality rates.
Myths About Cancer
Do you know myth from fact?
Are the following statements true, or are they myths? Decide what you think and then mouse over the statement to find the answer.
- The risk of dying from cancer in the U.S. is increasing.
- Treating cancer with surgery causes it to spread throughout the body.
- Birth control pills cause cancer.
- Harmful chemicals in charcoal broiled meat can cause cancer.
- Consuming artificial sweeteners increases the risk of cancer.
- Drinking fluoridated water increases the risk of cancer.
Other common cancer myths dispelled: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cancer/HO00033