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Addressing Racial Disparities in Health Care

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Black People are Dramatically Underrepresented in Clinical Trials

Black people have the highest death rates and shortest survival of any racial or ethnic group in the United States. Yet they are significantly underrepresented in studies evaluating the drugs that might improve their prognosis. A ProPublica analysis found that, in trials for 24 of the 31 cancer drugs approved between 2015 and 2018, less than 2% of participants were Black, even though Black Americans make up 13% of the population.

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Concrete Steps for Addressing Racial Disparities in Your Practice

Both anecdotal evidence and multiple studies have documented disturbing disparities in cancer care, morbidity, and mortality among various populations. “We’ve known that cancer disparities have existed for decades,” Dr. Karen Winkfield, radiation oncologist at Vanderbilt University, tells SurvivorNet Connect. She explains that CDC graphs and charts as far back as the 1970s show Blacks dying from cancers at a much higher rate than other racial or ethnic groups. “Black men, for example, are dying of prostate cancer at about twice the rate of white men,” she says.

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How Top Institutions Are Working to Reduce Racial Disparities

Black Americans have a two- to three-fold incidence of multiple myeloma compared to whites, yet they are significantly underrepresented in clinical trials. Issues with access, eligibility, and a lack of information from providers prevent many Black patients from participating.

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Why Minorities Are Underrepresented in Clinical Trials and What Physicians Can Do About It

The idea that racial and ethnic minorities are underrepresented in clinical trials has been well documented. That disparity has meant that cancer therapies are not being tested in the full demographic of people who will one day make use of them in the clinical setting.

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What Physicians Can Do to Tackle Issues of Race in Cancer Screening and Treatment

Disparities in screenings among those with a family history of cancer are clearly documented in the medical literature. Still, little has changed in our practice to address them.

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Cancer Affects Communities of Color Differently; How Providing Information on Prevention Can Help Level the Playing Field

Myeloma is just one example of a cancer that disproportionately impacts communities of color. Black Americans are twice as likely to have the precursor condition, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) than are white Americans.

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Doctors Treating Minority Ovarian Cancer Patients May Not Be Aware of Their Own Implicit Biases

Evidence strongly suggests a higher mortality rate and lack of high-quality treatment among Black ovarian cancer patients than white patients. Although the exact reason for this disparity isn’t clear, factors ranging from socioeconomic inequality to access to health care may play roles.

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Overcoming Racial Disparities in Multiple Myeloma Research and Care

Multiple myeloma has one of the most dramatic racial disparities of any cancers. Black Americans are more than twice as likely to get this cancer than white Americans. They're also more likely to die from multiple myeloma.

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The Clinical Trial Disparity: Why So Few Black Patients Enroll

In trials for 24 of the 31 cancer drugs approved since 2015, fewer than 5% of participants were Black. As a result of this disparity, Black patients aren't getting access to experimental, and possibly lifesaving new therapies.

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Improving Diversity in the Medical Community Key to Increasing Trust Among Black Patients

Having a doctor with the same racial background builds trust, and makes patients more likely to comply with medical advice, follow through with recommended screenings, and take their prescribed medications.

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How to Bridge the Information Gap and Overcome Distrust When Treating Women of Color

People of color face the highest rates of cancer, and of cancer mortality, than any other racial or ethnic group. Black women in particular have higher death rates, despite having a lower incidence of cancer overall.

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