By Regina Dodson | UAB Community Health and Human Services Intern
Cancer is a leading cause of death in the United States, and there is also a high prevalence of the disease affecting the African American community. African Americans have higher cancer mortality rates than any other racial or ethnic group, with a 14% higher overall cancer death rate than non-Hispanic whites (ACS, 2021). This disparity can be caused by a variety of factors, including socio-economic status, lifestyle factors, and limited access to healthcare.
One solution to reduce cancer disparities in the African American community is to increase access to cancer screenings. Early detection is crucial in the treatment of cancer, and regular cancer screenings can help detect cancer at an early stage, when it is most treatable. However, African Americans are less likely to receive cancer screenings than non-Hispanic whites, due to limited access to healthcare (ACS, 2021).
Community-based interventions have shown promise in increasing cancer screening rates in the African American community. These interventions involve community outreach and education, providing information on the importance of cancer screenings and how to access them. The Patient Navigation Program provides individualized support to people wishing to be screened for cancer, including transportation and other logistical support (Ferrante et al., 2011).
Another community-based intervention is the use of mobile mammography units, which bring mammography services to underserved communities, making it easier for women to access breast cancer screenings (Willems et al., 2019). Mobile mammography units have been shown to be effective in increasing breast cancer screening rates in underserved populations, including African American women.
Increasing access to cancer screenings in the African American community is crucial for reducing cancer disparities. Community-based interventions, such as the Patient Navigation Program and mobile mammography units, can help increase cancer screening rates in underserved populations. By improving access to cancer screenings, we can help detect cancer at an early stage, leading to better treatment outcomes and ultimately reducing cancer mortality rates in the African American community.
American Cancer Society (ACS). (2021). Cancer Facts & Figures for African Americans 2021-2023. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/research/cancer-facts-and-statistics/cancer-facts-and-figures-for-african-americans/cancer-facts-and-figures-for-african-americans-2021-2023.pdf
Ferrante, J. M., Chen, P. H., Kim, S., & The-Pennsylvania-Patient-Centered-Medical-Home-Initiative (2011). The effect of patient navigation on time to diagnosis, anxiety, and satisfaction in urban minority women with abnormal mammograms: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Urban Health, 88(2), 211–226. doi: 10.1007/s11524-010-9502-6
Willems, B. A., Henry, K. A., Richter, R. R., & Hsieh, Y. W. (2019). Breast Cancer Screening in Underserved Women in the United States: A Review of the Literature. Journal of Women’s Health, 28(2), 269–277. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2017.6863