Certain populations around the world are at a higher risk of getting diagnosed with cancer than others. In fact, over half of cancer cases are preventable. What factors contribute to this phenomenon?
I worked as a research intern at the University of Chicago. I learned that underprivileged minority populations have an unfair disadvantage from obtaining quality heath care. In fact, in the inner cities of Chicago, citizens can not afford a quality education and do not have the awareness of the importance of cancer screenings. With the poverty and violence stricken factors aside, patients simply do not understand how vital it is to get screened in order to detect potential growth of cancer cells.
Another factor is a lack of proper medical coverage, and the lack of access to updated cancer treatments. For example, studies show that aggressive breast cancer is common among black and Latina women. This aggressive form of cancer will not be cured will only standard cancer treatments, and must be cured will advanced, aggressive, and expensive cancer treatments in order to save the patient. With no access to modern and advanced cancer treatments, the patients will have little to no chance of survival.
African men have the highest rate for prostate cancer, and are twice more likely to die from the disease. Genetic factors may have a factor to the high rates of diagnosis among black men, however they are twice as likely to die from the disease because they do not take action for screening and prevention due to lack of knowledge about the risk factors of this disease. Statistics also show that white men are three times more likely to get screened than black men, supporting the idea that they simply do not know this is an issue they must be concerned about.
As mentioned earlier, half of cancer cases are preventable, primarily because they are caused by lifestyle factors. The obesity epidemic of America is directly harming low income and minority population of America. Low cost of highly processed and unhealthy foods are the only products these populations can afford, and they lack the understanding that these foods are killing them. Deceptive labels like 'sugar free' and 'fat free' deceive these audiences into believing that these products are not horrible for health. Furthermore, unhealthy fast food restaurants love saturating their locations and advertisements at low income neighborhoods. A meal in McDonald's can be as low as 2 dollars. These lifestyle issues are directly linked to a higher risk of high blood pressure, and heart disease.
I truly believe quality healthcare is a right, not a privilege. It is pure injustice that underprivileged populations are at an apparent disadvantage and the American healthcare system is still dubbed 'star quality' when that could not be further from the truth. Work still must be done to ensure everyone has access to quality healthcare, foods, and lifestyles. We must advocate to level out the playing field of healthcare, because it is cruel for citizens to continue having a higher risk of disease without knowing.