Black Americans are dying at cancer at the highest rate of any other demographic, according to a new report from the American Association for Cancer Research.
A report from September 16 says there are “glaring” racial disparities in cancer care. According to NBC News, co-author Dr. John Carpten, chair of the cancer research association’s Minorities in Cancer Research Council, said, “We have without a doubt been doing better with treating cancer as a whole, but we still see significant differences in certain types of cancer and still struggle with closing the gaps in these disparities.”
Black women are 40 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than white women and Black men are twice as likely to die of prostate cancer than white men.
The report also cites living below the poverty line and not having access to adequate healthcare as a reason for these jarring numbers.
Marissa Howard-McNatt, director of the Breast Care Center at Wake Forest Baptist Health in North Carolina, said, “The treatment of cancer is not set up for individuals who get paid by the hour.”
She continued, “They may not not be able to afford to take time off to get screened for cancer that they may or may not have. That’s a very hard decision to make, between your health and your income.”
There are also a low number of Black Americans who participate in clinical trials. According to Annals of Internal Medicine, less than 8 percent are Black.
Cancer can happen to anyone, studies also show there are things you can do to lessen your risk: maintain a healthy weight, work out regularly, cut back on alcohol, quit smoking and have regular cancer screenings.
In many cases, early detection and early treatment is the difference between life and death.
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