March 30, 2021
Updated March 30, 2021 | Originally published April 23, 2019
April is National Minority Health Month, a time to call attention to the serious health disparities experienced by underserved racial, ethnic and geographic communities across the U.S. Cancer affects us all, but it doesn’t affect us all the same. Take a look at a few stats that illustrate these inequalities:
When these social determinants of health are compounded by low socioeconomic status, access to preventive health care like cancer screenings can be difficult. A lack of affordable health care, dependable transportation or time off from work can all impact access. Missing routine medical appointments and cancer screenings can lead to delayed cancer diagnoses. And when cancer isn’t detected early, it’s harder to successfully treat.
There is some good news: recent trends show some cancer disparities narrowing (for example, the cancer death rate for Black Americans is declining faster than for white Americans). But we still have a long way to go—and it requires efforts on local, state and national levels to wipe out health disparities.
How can you create change? Help your community make cancer prevention a priority! Encourage neighbors, friends and family members to get screened—and offer them a ride to their appointments. A little support can go a long way in the fight against cancer.
Sources: American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute (NCI), HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)