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African Americans Suffer More Fatalities in Cancer

African Americans Suffer More Fatalities in Cancer

Latest studies prove that even with an equal amount of care and treatment, African Americans are more likely to have fatalities from cancers like those of the ovaries, prostate and breast. This study provides evidence that provokes the thought that biological factors are very important in health disparities.

The studies also found that the differences in survival were minor in the case of cancer of the lungs, colon etc. Nearly 20000 cancer patients were studied as a part of these federally funded trials. However, there were striking disparities in the survival rates for ovarian and breast cancers. This led the team to suggest that biological factors were playing an important role in the outcome of the disease.

The new studies provide a way to draw on biology as a means of explaining this reduced rate of survival, rather than provision of care.

When the type of care provided is equal, most of the people, whether Africans or Americans, survived most of the cancers. This was encouraging as it proved the necessity of quality care that could be accessed very fast. However, the results were different for certain other types of cancers like those of the prostate and ovaries. Researchers felt that the discoveries were groundbreaking and would have a lot of impact on finding a cure for it.

There is a growing body of thought that believes that biological factors have a role to play in determining health disparities among individuals. For instance, genes have an important role to play In the case of reactions to therapies. However, this study has raised concerns that with the findings, the other factors like poverty and lack of care may be less highlighted.

Experts also cautioned against reading too much into the results. Early health and environmental effects on the individuals could not be discounted, they said. This could lead to misleading results.

Otis W. Brawley the CMO of the American Cancer Society said that the studies harked back to the question of ‘genetic inferiority’.

A detailed study of the report in the study earlier indicated that African Americans were about 49% more likely not to survive postmenopausal breast cancer. They were 61% more likely to suffer fatalities from advanced ovarian cancers.

Some of the differences could be explained by the fact that the cancer affecting black women were of the more aggressive form. Albain however argued that the results were not supposed to bias against races in any way and that they certainly do not prove the ‘inferiority’ of any race. The studies only indicated that there was something tracking the disease among African American women and that the reason should be found out.

Others said that the lack of quality care was the determining factor in most cases and it has nothing to do with genetics per se. For instance, African Americans are more likely to have grown up in polluted atmospheres and suffered from obesity. This could lead to more cancers.

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