Elders of Color Have Lower Cancer Survival

Aging Today, January/February 2003 | Go to article overview

Elders of Color Have Lower Cancer Survival


Elders of color in the United States "are far less likely to survive cancer" according to Brandeis University ci searcher John Capitman, principal investigator of a new study funded by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Capitman, who directs longterm care studies at the university's Schneider Institute for Health Policy, said that "screening rates for breast, colon, and prostate cancer are lower than desirable for all Medicare beneficiaries, but notably lower for people of color." Cancer is a leading cause of death among older people on Medicare.

Capitman presented the findings at the 130th Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association in Philadelphia in November. He said that to determine why people of color were less likely to receive suitable treatment, the Brandeis researcher team reviewed more than 1.000 studies of epidemiological and intervention research on race, ethnicity and cancer disparities in elders. They also surveyed 115 cancer prevention programs nationwide.

The researchers used this information to develop 25 case studies of cancer intervention programs in traditionally underserved communities throughout the United States. After analyzing the most prevalent forms of cancer among elders of color, including lung, breast, cervical, colorectal and prostate cancers, the investigators identified racial and ethnic variations in treatment of patients. They focused on four behavioral factors influencing cancer prevention: physical activity, nutrition and weight loss, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption. …

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Elders of Color Have Lower Cancer Survival
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