Overcoming Disparities in Cancer: A Need for Meaningful Reform for Hispanic and Latino Cancer Survivors

Joshua P. Kronenfeld, Kristi D. Graves, Francisco Penedo, Betina Yanez*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Hispanic and Latino (HL) cancer survivors are at a critical disadvantage compared with non-Hispanic White (NHW) patients regarding sociodemographic adversities and access to equitable treatment options. By 2030, there will be about four million HL cancer survivors in the U.S., representing nearly 20% of survivors in this country. Hispanics and Latinos are subjected to significant challenges in accessing and receiving equitable care relative to NHWs. Hispanics and Latinos also experience lower rates of health insurance and financial resources, limiting health care options. These disparities often originate from disparate social determinants of health, including lower funding for education and school programs, greater neighborhood stressors and violence, lower access to healthy and affordable food, and greater barriers to community health and exercise opportunities. Even among HL cancer survivors with proper access to health care, they experience disparate treatment options, including low inclusion in clinical trials and/or access to experimental therapies. A solution to these barriers necessitates complex and systemic changes that involve, for example, investing in public health programs, increasing the diversity and cultural awareness of the medical workforce, and promoting research opportunities such as clinical trials that are inclusive of HLs. Only through meaningful reform will equitable cancer care be available for all in the U.S. regardless of racial and/or ethnic background. This article reviews some of the critical social determinants of health and biases relevant to HL cancer survivors and provides recommendations for achieving cancer health equity. Implications for Practice: Hispanics and Latinos experience a significant and often disproportionate cancer-related burden compared with non-Hispanic and Latino White individuals and other racial and ethnic groups. Meaningful reform to achieve health equity in oncology should focus on approaches to gaining trust among diverse patients, cultural and community sensitivity and engagement in oncology care and research, diversifying the workforce, and improving inclusion in clinical trial participation. Taken together, these recommendations can lead to exemplary and equitable care for all patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOncologist
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Cancer
  • Health equity
  • Latino
  • Racism
  • Survivorship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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