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New study findings show an increased risk for cancer among Latino populations, but unique demographic characteristics suggest the problem may be worse than currently known.
“As we see the Latino population age, we are going to see the current disparity in knowledge and outcomes become an explosion,” said Amelie G. Ramirez, Dr.P.H., director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, the team behind SaludToday.
Ramirez received the fifth annual AACR-Minorities in Cancer Research Jane Cooke Wright Lectureship at the 101st AACR Annual Meeting 2010 and delivered a lecture, “Networks in Acción for Latino Cancer Research,” on April 18.
Currently, the rate of breast cancer among Latinas is lower than that in the general population, but the diagnoses are occurring earlier and the stage at presentation is becoming more severe. Latinos are already the largest U.S. minority population at 13 percent, and by 2050, one in every three individuals will be Latino, Ramirez said.
“The challenge is that, as a group, Latinos have less education, higher poverty rates, less access to health care and lower rates of insurance. They also bring unique cultural customs that we need to understand to improve their access to care and response to treatment,” she said. “We need to level the playing field to provide this population with better screening for early detection and better access to quality of care.”