How Race and Gender Matter in Cancer Outcomes

How Race and Gender Matter in Cancer Outcomes cancerpatient2

Cancer care research typically focuses on just one of the patient’s social identities. Isaac Lane Koval/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

the Investigation report is a short take on an interesting academic paper.

the big idea

Belonging to one or more groups with longstanding social and economic disadvantages increases the risk of cancer diagnosis and death, according to our review of 28 cancer studies published between 2012 and 2021.

People who were not white and LGBTQ received less cancer preventive services and had fewer cancer screenings, for example, we found.

We started by looking for studies of groups with poor cancer outcomes. We then narrowed our focus to cancer studies that specified study participants’ race, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, disability status, or rural residence. We found only 28 that provided such information. We categorized these studies according to the aspect of cancer care they covered. Some studies, for example, dealt with cancer detection and preventionwhile others treatment-focused.

Most of the studies focused on what people did to prevent or detect cancer. Examples include getting mammograms or getting vaccinated against the human papillomavirus. And we found some studies that dealt with specific types of cancer, such as cervical cancer or breast cancer.

We found that sexual orientation and race influenced whether women chose to be screened for cancer or take preventive treatments. Nonwhite women of low socioeconomic status also had lower cancer survival rates. We saw that these patients experienced fears of discrimination, a general discomfort with health care providers, and more mistrust of the health care system.

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why does it matter

Despite advances in detection and treatment, cancer remains the second leading cause of death in the United States. And in communities with longstanding social and economic disadvantage, the risk of cancer diagnosis and death is higher than in the general population.

For example, black women are more likely than white women die of breast cancer. New diagnoses of prostate cancer occur more frequently in rural Appalachia, compared to urban areas in the same region. And bisexual women are 70% more likely to be diagnosed with cancer. compared to heterosexual women.

Cancer care research often overlooks the multiple identities of individual patients. But most people have more than one social identity, and those identities are difficult to separate from one another. For example, a gay black man is not gay one day and black the next; he is both, all the time. And he has different experiences of discrimination and disadvantage compared to a straight black man.

Intersectionality describes the recognition and consideration of a person’s multiple and interrelated social identities. Taking these multiple identities into account could help improve cancer prevention and survival among those who belong to one or more historically disadvantaged groups.

What is not yet known

We did not look at lifestyle behaviors, such as smoking, that might increase cancer risk and contribute to poorer cancer treatment outcomes. However, the cancer disparities based on lifestyle behaviors they are well documented, and it would be valuable to look at how complex identities and lifestyle affect those outcomes.

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As researchers, we wanted to focus on identifying studies in the literature that focused on the many interconnected ways that patients self-identify and how this relates to their health care. Unfortunately, only a small amount of data was available and our current report suffered from these limitations.

Whats Next

Our article describes ways that scientists can take into account the multiple identities of patients when conducting cancer research. This model includes recommendations for setting up studies, conducting the research itself, and documenting the findings. Considering more complex patient identities could make future studies more consistent and understandable. It will help fill in some of the big gaps we’re seeing in the way researchers study cancer.The conversation

This article is republished from The conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the Original article.