San Antonio (April 27, 2004) – Inadequate access to cancer screening and care is the No. 1 cancer issue for the nation’s 38 million Hispanics/Latinos, according to a report recently issued by Redes En Acción: The National Hispanic/Latino Cancer Network.
In its summary recommendations for a national Hispanic/Latino cancer control agenda, the Redes En Acción Latino Cancer Report ranks the cancer issues of greatest relevance to this country’s Latino population as follows: 1) access to cancer screening and care, 2) tobacco use and cancer, 3) status and communication of cancer risk, 4) association of infectious agents with certain types of cancer, and 5) cancer survivorship and health-related quality of life.
Access to care is a particularly significant problem for Latinos. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Latinos are uninsured at a rate more than three times higher than non-Hispanic whites (32.4 percent versus 10.7 percent).
The Latino Cancer Report includes a series of research recommendations for the priority issues, as well as education, training and outreach recommendations for cancer prevention and control. In addition, the report lists the most important cancer sites, in order of their significance to Latinos, as: 1) breast, 2) cervical, 3) lung, 4) colorectal, 5) prostate, 6) liver, and 7) stomach.
“The consensus recommendations found in the Latino Cancer Report are intended to help shape a national agenda on Hispanic/Latino cancer prevention and control issues,” said Martha A. Medrano, M.D., M.P.H., Redes En Acción South Central Regional Network Center principal investigator and associate professor of psychiatry at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. She is also director of the Medical Hispanic Center of Excellence and assistant dean of continuing medical education at the Health Science Center.
“More specifically, the aim of this report is to assist Redes En Acción in its goals of promoting Hispanic/Latino cancer research, training and public education, as well as providing advisory guidelines for national, regional and local policy makers,” Dr. Medrano said.
The Latino Cancer Report represents four years of research and prioritization and the input of hundreds of scientists, health care professionals, leaders of government agencies and professional and community-based organizations, and other stakeholders in Hispanic/Latino health. The process included participation by Redes En Acción’s National Steering Committee and six Regional Community Advisory Committees, and a survey of 624 key opinion leaders in Hispanic/Latino communities throughout the country.
“Latinos are the largest and fastest-growing minority population in the United States,” Dr. Medrano said. “As this population expands and ages, it is imperative that the resources and strategies employed in the war against cancer be targeted as precisely as possible for maximum effect. Redes En Acción believes this Latino Cancer Report will provide a useful tool for all individuals and organizations engaged in this effort.”
Redes En Acción is a major Special Populations Networks initiative supported by the Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities of the National Cancer Institute. The primary purpose is to create a national and regional infrastructure for collaboration among grassroots leaders, local communities, researchers and public health professionals to stimulate cancer control research, training and awareness. Through network activities, Redes En Acción is establishing training and research opportunities for Latino students and researchers, generating research projects on key cancer issues impacting Latinos and supporting cancer awareness activities. For more information about Redes En Acción, visit www.redesenaccion.org.
Amelie G. Ramirez, Dr.P.H.
San Antonio, Texas
Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable, M.D.
San Francisco, California
North Central Region
Aida L. Giachello, Ph.D.
Jose R. Marti, M.D.
Brooklyn, New York
Gregory A. Talavera, M.D., M.P.H.
San Diego, California
South Central Region
Martha A. Medrano, M.D., M.P.H.
San Antonio, Texas
Frank J. Penedo, Ph.D.