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About 20% of cancer diagnoses in the United States are for rare cancers, according to a new American Cancer Society report, MedicalXpress reports.
The number is worse for racial/ethnic groups.
Latinos face higher rates of rare cancers (24%), as do Asian/Pacific Islanders (22%), than blacks (20%) and whites (19%).
Rare cancers challenge both patients and doctors.
For most rare cancers, research to identify causes or ways for prevention or early detection is limited or nonexistent, according to MedicalXpress. Rare cancers also can be tough to diagnose and treat, leading to delays in diagnosis and less effective means of treatment than for more common cancers.
“Efforts are needed to develop interventions for prevention, early detection, and treatment to reduce the burden of rare cancers,” according to report authors led by Carol E. DeSantis, who explored registry and surveillance data on more than 100 rare cancers to fuel the new report.
“Such discoveries can often advance knowledge for all cancers,” they said.
Latino Cancer Issues
Cancer is the No. 1 killer of Latinos.
Although Latinos have lower rates than Whites for the most common types of cancer, Latinos have higher rates for cancers associated with infectious agents. These include stomach, uterine cervix, gallbladder, and liver cancers, and also acute lymphocytic leukemia.
Latinos also experience higher death rates for cervical, stomach and liver cancers, and are diagnosed with later-stage disease.
These health disparities are critical to Latino health.
What Can You Do?
To be part of the solution, join Redes En Acción, a national Latino cancer research network based at UT Health San Antonio, the team behind SaludToday.
SaludToday covers many Latino cancer issues and solutions:
Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of SaludToday, urges the community to get engaged with researchers to help solve the problem.
“Researchers benefit from hearing the community’s needs and being able to adjust interventions to meet those needs,” Ramirez said in an interview with the National Cancer Institute. “Local residents and groups benefit from having their specific needs addressed while being empowered to put the research to use.”