Studying cancer in minorities: a look at the numbers.
ABSTRACT Inclusion of minorities is an important but challenging aspect of epidemiologic studies in the United States. One aspect of this challenge that has received little attention is the actual number of minorities with specific cancers. The authors aimed to understand how population characteristics affect the numbers of minority cancer cases in Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) regions.
By using SEER data, the authors identified 6 cancers with higher incidence rates in racial and ethnic minorities and reviewed the annual number of cases of those cancers in SEER areas where there are large numbers of blacks, Hispanics, and Asians. The authors examined the age characteristics of the populations in SEER areas using data from the US Census.
Although there are substantial numbers of cases for the most common cancers with higher incidence in blacks, their numbers are quite small for other cancers, <150 cases, and in many areas, <100 per year. Few registries have substantial numbers of Hispanics or Asians. As expected, the proportion of minority populations is lower in older age groups, whereas the proportion of non-Hispanic whites is larger.
Because of the sharp decline in minority populations associated with age and the high age-specific incidence rates of most cancers, the actual number of minority cases is quite small for several cancers. Thus, the inclusion of minority groups in studies of any but the most common cancers presents a challenge.
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ABSTRACT: Conducting research on the health of Hispanic populations in the United States entails challenges of identifying individuals who are Hispanic and obtaining good study participation. In this report, identification of Hispanics using a surname search and ethnicity information collected by cancer registries was validated, compared with self-report, for breast cancer cases and controls in Utah and New Mexico. Factors influencing participation by Hispanics in a study interview in 2000-2005 were evaluated. The positive predictive value of identification as Hispanic by cancer registry records and surname search was 82.3% for cases and 73.2% for controls. Hispanics who were correctly classified differed from those who were misclassified, reporting lower language acculturation and educational attainment. Older age was positively associated with success in contacting Hispanic controls (p(trend) < 0.0001) but negatively associated with cooperation with the interview (p(trend) < 0.0001). Community characteristics described by US Census data, including income, education, and urban/rural residence, did not significantly influence participation by Hispanic cases or controls. The authors conclude that a surname search efficiently identifies Hispanics, although individuals identified using this method are not completely representative. Recruitment of Hispanic cases and controls does not appear to be affected by selection bias related to community characteristics.American journal of epidemiology 11/2007; 166(10):1210-9. · 5.59 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The gap between the highest and lowest life expectancies for race-county combinations in the United States is over 35 y. We divided the race-county combinations of the US population into eight distinct groups, referred to as the "eight Americas," to explore the causes of the disparities that can inform specific public health intervention policies and programs. The eight Americas were defined based on race, location of the county of residence, population density, race-specific county-level per capita income, and cumulative homicide rate. Data sources for population and mortality figures were the Bureau of the Census and the National Center for Health Statistics. We estimated life expectancy, the risk of mortality from specific diseases, health insurance, and health-care utilization for the eight Americas. The life expectancy gap between the 3.4 million high-risk urban black males and the 5.6 million Asian females was 20.7 y in 2001. Within the sexes, the life expectancy gap between the best-off and the worst-off groups was 15.4 y for males (Asians versus high-risk urban blacks) and 12.8 y for females (Asians versus low-income southern rural blacks). Mortality disparities among the eight Americas were largest for young (15-44 y) and middle-aged (45-59 y) adults, especially for men. The disparities were caused primarily by a number of chronic diseases and injuries with well-established risk factors. Between 1982 and 2001, the ordering of life expectancy among the eight Americas and the absolute difference between the advantaged and disadvantaged groups remained largely unchanged. Self-reported health plan coverage was lowest for western Native Americans and low-income southern rural blacks. Crude self-reported health-care utilization, however, was slightly higher for the more disadvantaged populations. Disparities in mortality across the eight Americas, each consisting of millions or tens of millions of Americans, are enormous by all international standards. The observed disparities in life expectancy cannot be explained by race, income, or basic health-care access and utilization alone. Because policies aimed at reducing fundamental socioeconomic inequalities are currently practically absent in the US, health disparities will have to be at least partly addressed through public health strategies that reduce risk factors for chronic diseases and injuries.PLoS Medicine 10/2006; 3(9):e260. · 15.25 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Increasing minority participation in cancer research is an ethical and statistical necessity for gaining population-specific knowledge of cancer prevention, screening, and treatment. Locating and recruiting eligible and willing minority participants presents unique structural and cultural/linguistic challenges. Community Based Participatory Research provides a viable set of principles for facilitating recruitment in hard-to-recruit communities. We focus on the specific challenge of recruiting and engaging low-income and underinsured Latina women in cancer prevention education research, and present community-based strategies used to recruit women into a recently completed study in Arizona, Juntos en la Salud (Together in Health). Community representatives and promotoras' (Latino community health educators) involvement in site identification, individual recruitment, and development of strategies and materials for the interventions built engagement and trust. These strategies resulted in enrollment of an especially low-income, underinsured population. To emphasize the degree to which a particularly underserved population was recruited, we present data comparing demographic and screening profiles of enrollees to the general population of Latinos in Arizona.Contemporary clinical trials 09/2008; 30(1):47-54. · 1.51 Impact Factor