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Need for Improved Access to Cancer Screening Tools for Minorities with Socioeconomic Barriers to Medical Care

Conference Correspondent 

Health disparities may occur as the result of intersecting racial, ethnic, social, or financial barriers, which result in inequitable access to and distribution of medical care. Researchers investigated the relationship between socioeconomic disparities and cancer rates in populations where financial hardship creates gaps in access to medical care.

Among the 436,198 survey respondents, there was 9.8% cancer prevalence. A high occurrence of cancer was found in women and patients aged ≥70 years. Race and income levels were associated with statistically significant differences in frequency of cancer. Being Hispanic (19%) or multiracial (14%), or having an annual income <$25,000 (19%) were associated with increased prevalence and delayed access to cancer screening and treatment due to cost. The financial burden experienced by certain populations hinders access to recommended screenings such as breast cancer (17%), colon cancer (12%), and prostate cancer (11%).

The researchers concluded that socioeconomic status contributes to delayed access to appropriate cancer screenings and related medical care, especially in minority populations, which drives healthcare gaps for certain cancers. To address these gaps, improved access to cancer screening tools is necessary.

Source: Soror N, Keruakous A. Socio-economic disparities and accessibility to age-appropriate screening tools. American Society of Clinical Oncology Virtual Meeting; June 4-8, 2021. Abstract 1529.

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