April 28, 2011 -- Cancer incidence among minority populations is expected to double in the next 20 years, while only increasing about 31% among whites, according to a new report from government advisors.
The report, from the President’s Cancer Panel, says there are still striking inequities between racial groups in this country when it comes to cancer risk, incidence, treatment, and survival. In order to address those problems, the panel urges better data collection, more research, specialized training for doctors, and more help for patients who can’t speak English as they try to navigate an increasingly complex health care system.
“I think everybody is well aware of the changing demographics in America, as far as the aging of the population, which will increase the prevalence of cancer, and also what’s happening in terms of the ethnic shift in the populations in the United States,” says Margaret L. Kripke, PhD, a member of the President’s Cancer Panel.
“What we thought would be important is to see what impact that would have on cancer incidence and mortality in the United States,” she says. “And to our great surprise, it doesn’t seem to be well described and well characterized.”
There’s some information, but it’s piecemeal, Kripke says. Without a comprehensive and cohesive picture, “we may be missing some opportunities to do prevention that could be very important.”