TALLAHASSEE, FL – September 22, 2021 – A new study released by the American Cancer Society (ACS) shows significant health inequities among Hispanic and Latino Americans living in the U.S. The study, led by Kimberly Miller, MPH, a scientist at ACS, notes that much of the high burden of these cancers in this population could be reduced by increasing access to high-quality prevention, early detection, and treatment services.
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) has long advocated for increased access to early detection and treatment services by sustained funding for Florida’s Mary Brogan Cancer Early Detection and Prevention program which provides critical screenings to underinsured and uninsured individuals – a majority of whom are Latin and Black.
Kimberly Miller, MPH, Study Author and ACS Scientist
“Addressing this critical gap for Hispanic individuals in obtaining access to high quality cancer prevention, early detection and treatment is going to be essential for mitigating the predicted growth in the cancer burden. In addition, more research is needed to assess not only the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the utilization of cancer care, but also the impact on cancer incidence and mortality trends as COVID-19 has disproportionately affected minority populations in the U.S.”
Gloria Garcia, ACS CAN Florida State Lead Ambassador
“Breast cancer the leading cause of cancer death for Latina women living in the U.S. and for Florida women at large. For decades, Mary Brogan has been key to addressing these inequities we see due to barriers to screenings and care – and more critical than ever in light of these findings as well as the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on communities of color. There’s no question that countless Floridians that have faced serious economic hardship due to the coronavirus is sure to lead to increased eligibility for the lifesaving program.”
Current screening rates for Latin individuals in Florida fell drastically short when compared to national population numbers as highlighted in an annual legislative report on Florida’s Mary Brogan Cancer Prevention and Early Detection program shared with state lawmakers in early August that urged for more evidence-based interventions to address such inequities.
Key data from the recently released report includes:
- Cancer continues to be the leading cause of death among Hispanic people, followed by heart disease, reflecting the younger age of the population and the lower proportion of deaths due to heart disease among Hispanic women.
- Breast cancer is also the leading cause of cancer death in women in Puerto Rico, whereas prostate cancer leads in men, reflecting the low smoking prevalence in the territory.
- Incidence of cervical cancer, which is almost completely preventable through screening and vaccination, is 32% higher in Hispanic women in the continental U.S. and Hawaii and 78% higher in Puerto Rico compared to non-Hispanic White women.
- An estimated 46,500 cancer deaths will occur among Hispanic individuals in the continental U.S. and Hawaii in 2021, for whom the most common causes of cancer death are lung cancer (13%), CRC (11%) and liver cancer (11%) among men, and breast cancer (14%), lung cancer (10%), and CRC (9%) among women.
More on the Report
The report, appearing in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, is the most comprehensive review of contemporary cancer statistics for the U.S. Hispanic population, including Puerto Rico, and is published every three years.
The Hispanic/Latino population is the second-largest racial/ethnic group in the U.S., accounting for 19% (62.1 million) of the total population in 2020. The cancer burden in Hispanic people is expected to increase in part because population growth is now driven by births rather than immigration, and cancer rates among U.S.-born Hispanic people approach or surpass those of non-Hispanic Whites as a result of acculturation. However, cancer data are often only available for the Hispanic population in aggregate, masking these important differences by nativity, as well as those by Hispanic origin.
You can read the full report here.
About ACS CAN at 20
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) makes cancer a top priority for policymakers at every level of government. ACS CAN empowers volunteers across the country to make their voices heard to influence evidence-based public policy change that saves lives. We believe everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer. Since 2001, as the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN has successfully advocated for billions of dollars in cancer research funding, expanded access to quality affordable health care, and made workplaces, including restaurants and bars, smoke-free. As we mark our 20th anniversary, we’re more determined than ever to stand together with our volunteers and save more lives from cancer. Join the fight by visiting www.fightcancer.org.