National Cancer Institute Fact Sheet: Cancer Health Disparities
Publication or External Link
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) defines "cancer health disparities" as adverse differences in cancer incidence (new cases), cancer prevalence (all existing cases), cancer death (mortality), cancer survivorship, and burden of cancer or related health conditions that exist among specific population groups in the United States (see Question 1). Complex and interrelated factors contribute to the observed disparities in cancer incidence and death among racial, ethnic, and underserved groups. The most obvious factors are associated with a lack of health care coverage and low socioeconomic status (see Question 2). Although cancer deaths have declined for both Whites and African Americans/Blacks living in the United States, African Americans/Blacks continue to suffer the greatest burden for each of the most common types of cancer (see Question 4). American White women have the highest incidence rate for breast cancer, although African American/Black women are most likely to die from the disease (see Question 5). African American/Black men have the highest incidence rate for prostate cancer in the United States and are more than twice as likely as White men to die of the disease (see Question 9). NCI is pursuing a variety of programs and initiatives to address cancer health disparities. In 2001, the Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities (CRCHD) was established to serve as the cornerstone of NCI's efforts to reduce the unequal burden of cancer in our nation (see Questions 15 and 16).