Apanel that included top oncologists at some of the nations
premier cancer centers criticized the National Cancer Institute(NCI)
for not looking behind statistics showing that poor people and ethnic
minorities have higher cancer rates in some instances. The Institute
of Medicine (IOM), which is part of the National Academy of Sciences,
chartered the Committee on Cancer Research Among Minorities and the
Medically Underserved. Representatives from the Robert Lurie Cancer
Center, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer
Center, and the Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center sat on the committee,
which was chaired by M. Alfred Haynes, the former president and dean
of the Drew Postgraduate Medical School.
The committee argued that there needs to be much more research into
statistics showing such disparities as African-American men being
disproportionately affected by prostate cancer and Asian-Americans
having higher rates of stomach and liver cancer. The National
Institutes of Health (NIH), which has an office on research on
minority health, and the NCI, have dallied on this research,
according to the IOM committee. The NCI says that it spent $124
million on research into minorities and cancer in fiscal year 1997.
But the Haynes committee looked at the numbers and concluded that the
NCIs outlay was more on the level of $24 million.