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Seizing the Opportunity to Curb Cancer Disparities

Diversity in Healthcare: Black Men & Cancer RatesThe good news for U.S. Black men is that their cancer death rate declined faster than the rates of other men, largely because of lower rates of lung and prostate cancer. The bad news: Blacks continue to have higher death rates for many types of cancer. And the conditions that have the biggest gaps—colon cancer in men and breast cancer in women—are those most affected by screening and treatment, meaning access to care is a big part of the problem. More outreach needs to be done to build awareness and trust that will lead to better outcomes.

The Affordable Care Act—which will insure 32 million previously uninsured individuals, most of them lower-income Blacks and Latinos—includes provisions for mammograms and colonoscopies, both critical to curbing breast or colon cancer at a stage when treatment can be effective. But what will really make a difference is culturally relevant outreach and education. Hospitals’ and physicians’ ability to provide culturally competent care is essential to alleviating these disparities. Watch this video for more:

As hospitals move toward more accountable care models, they’re starting some innovative programs: North Shore–LIJ Health System recently received a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to train undergraduates at HBCU Hampton University on the disparities in prostate cancer treatments, access to care and outcomes. The Cleveland Clinic holds an annual Minority Men’s Health Fair to raise awareness of diseases such as colon cancer, diabetes and heart disease, and holds clinics every week to encourage screening. Watch the video below.

Cleveland Clinic is No. 3 on DiversityInc’s Top 5 Hospital Systems.

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