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April 08, 2012

By Gary A. Puckrein, PhD

Liquid piped into one of many vials

From the Democratization of Health Care Series

Posted February 7, 2012 | Updated April 8, 2012

By Gary A. Puckrein

Published on the Huffington Post

A just released report from the American Cancer Society (ACS) has triggered for me, yet again, a concern: The America clinical research system is not designed to maximize the potential for the best possible outcomes of health services that are delivered to all American health care consumers.

According to the ACS Cancer Statistics 2012, cancer related deaths in the United States have declined considerably over the past two decades. Specifically, mortality rates have dropped 23% for males and 15% for females since 1990. This means that approximately 1 million lives have been saved.

Clearly, this trend is to be celebrated, and indicates that sound research and effective innovation are alive and well in America. Yet despite overall improvements in survivorship rates for the general population, the African American community continues to be disproportionately affected by cancer. Specifically, the ACS report reveals that, “For all cancer sites combined, African American men have a 15% higher incidence rate and a 33% higher death rate than white men, whereas African American women have a 6% lower incidence rate but a 16% higher death rate than white women.” The report states further that, “Compared with whites, African American men and women have poorer survival once cancer is diagnosed. The 5-year relative survival is lower in African Americans than in whites for every stage of diagnosis for nearly every type of cancer.”

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