A new study found that recent progress in closing the gap in overall cancer mortality between African Americans and whites may be due primarily to smoking related cancers, and that cancer mortality differences related to screening and treatment may still be increasing. The study is the first to analyze racial and ethnic differences between the two broad categories of disease.
Despite decreases in overall cancer death rates across all racial and ethnic groups since the early 1990s, racial disparities in cancer mortality persist, according to the study results. African Americans had the highest risk of all major ethnic groups in the U.S. of being diagnosed with and dying of cancer (Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 17:2908-2912, 2008).
Negative messages make minorities skip screening
Emphasizing the negative consequences of a lack of cancer screening can make minority patients avoid it, according to a study from the St. Louis University School of Public Health.
Robert Nicholson, PhD, and colleagues asked 300 African-American adults to read articles about colon cancer.
The researchers found that articles that relied on scare tactics actually discouraged an interest in screening, while articles about positive outcomes made people more open to screening (Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 17:2946-2953, 2008).