September 1st 2006
The 2005 National Health Disparities Report found disparities related to race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status in the United States health-care system. While varying in magnitude, disparities were observed in almost all aspects of health care including cancer. Disparities were noted across quality and access to health care, levels and types of health care, various health-care settings, and within many subpopulations. In this review, we explore the disparities in cancer care among racial and ethnic minorities. In particular we consider numerous factors that may influence health care for racial and ethnic minority groups including socioeconomic issues, access, cultural beliefs, risk factors, and comorbidities. Although there are extensive confounding factors that vary with each subgroup, trends that may help individual practitioners better understand this complex issue become evident through closer evaluation of available data.