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Reducing Health Disparities in Cancer

CDC and other public health agencies, health care providers, and communities of all racial and ethnic groups must become partners in a national effort to—

  • Improve early detection of cancer through routine mammography, Pap tests, and colorectal cancer screening.
  • Implement evidence-based community interventions to increase screening and modify risk behaviors.
  • Develop research projects that will encourage minority groups to participate in clinical trials for cancer prevention to ensure that significant differences between minority and ethnic groups are identified.
  • Undertake research that will inform decisions about interventions to reduce cancer disparities and improve health. There is a growing need for interventions that are available to people regardless of socioeconomic status or lifestyle behaviors that also addresses the social environment.
  • Use a variety of media and channels to market cancer information to diverse populations in a variety of settings.

Access to quality cancer care and clinical trials needs to be expanded to ensure that minority groups are provided the same care and access to state-of-the-art technology that patients in major care centers receive.

Fear of cancer, perceived cost of care, and lack of physician referral are common barriers to cancer screening and other preventive services. Health care providers play a critical role in recommending and increasing use of preventive services. Research shows that physician recommendation is a major predictor of receipt of screening.