Researchers identify top ways to stop projected 142% rise in Latino cancer

Drs. Mesa, Rios, Croyle, Ramirez and Lopez
Leaders at the first Advancing the Science of Cancer in Latinos conference in 2018 are (left to right) Ruben Mesa, M.D., FACP, director of the UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center; Elena Rios, M.D., M.S.P.H., FACP, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association; Robert Croyle, Ph.D., director of the National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences; Amelie Ramirez, Dr.P.H., professor and chair of the Department of Population Health Sciences and director of the Institute for Health Promotions Research at UT Health San Antonio; and Esteban López, M.D., M.B.A., chief medical officer of clinical strategy and innovation at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas.

Media Contact: Cliff Despres, (210) 562-6517, despres@uthscsa.edu

SAN ANTONIO (Dec. 4, 2019) – As U.S. Latinos face a staggering 142% projected rise in cancer cases by 2030, UT Health San Antonio leaders gathered international cancer experts to publish a new book with innovative research and recommendations to reduce Latino cancer.

The book, Advancing the Science of Cancer in Latinos in Springer Open Books, showcases results of the same-name conference that brought 300 researchers to San Antonio in 2018.

Advancing the Science of Cancer in Latinos LogoA follow-up conference, set for Feb. 26-28, 2020, in San Antonio, is open for registration.

Included in the new book are promising research findings on Latino cancer and strategies for new research covering the entire cancer continuum, from advances in risk assessment, prevention, screening, detection, diagnosis, treatment, survivorship and policy.

“Our book, Advancing the Science of Cancer in Latinos, takes an unprecedented look at Latino cancer from many disciplines to encourage the kind of collaboration among diverse professionals that we need to move the field forward,” said Amelie Ramirez, Dr.P.H., co-editor of the book. She is professor and chair of the Department of Population Health Sciences and director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at UT Health San Antonio. The IHPR co-hosted the 2018 conference along with the university’s Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center.

“We believe the recommendations here can spark dialog and collaboration for new solutions to eliminate cancer health disparities among Latino populations,” she said.

The book and the conference are a call to action to address Latino cancer health disparities.

Cancer is the leading cause of death in Latinos

Latinos face a higher risk for certain cancers, such as stomach and liver cancer, compared to whites. This stems from cultural barriers to care, low screening rates, underrepresentation in clinical studies and data that fails to reflect the diversity within the U.S. Latino population.

The authors urge researchers, population health clinicians, communities and policymakers to see the Latino population as composed of many subgroups. For example, a family’s country of origin can affect genetics, environment, culture, food preferences and lifestyle.

The book recommends that researchers create studies based on subgroups to provide more meaningful results, as health care moves to a customized approach through precision medicine.

Latino population is growing

“This research approach is important because Latinos are projected to be one-third of the U.S. population by 2050,” Dr. Ramirez said.

Co-editors of the new book are Amelie Ramirez, Dr.P.H., professor and chair of the Department of Population Health Sciences and director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio, and Ed Trapido, Sc.D., FACE, an epidemiology researcher at the Louisiana State University School of Public Health and LSU Health Sciences Center.

The book provides recommendations for action in these areas:

Genetics, environment and lifestyle of Latino subgroups

  • Latino cancer risk, prevention and screening
  • Biology of cancer health disparities
  • Advances in cancer therapy and clinical trials
  • Latino cancer in the era of precision medicine
  • Engaging Latinos in cancer research
  • Emerging policies in U.S. health care

“We hope readers will explore this important research to gain a fresh, comprehensive perspective on Latino cancer health disparities,” Dr. Ramirez said. “We anticipate this will inspire critical thinking and strategizing about how people can apply this research and practice into their work, leading to more collaboration, research and success in improving the health and lives of U.S. Latinos.”

Ed Trapido, Sc.D., FACE, an epidemiology researcher at the Louisiana State University School of Public Health and LSU Health Sciences Center, is the book’s other co-editor.

The book was supported in part by the Mays Cancer Center, IHPR and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (R13MD012457-01).

Contributors to the book include Mays Cancer Center Director Ruben A. Mesa, M.D., FACP; IHPR team members Patricia Chalela, Dr.P.H., Pramod Sukumaran, Ph.D., Cliff Despres, Andrea Fernandez, M.P.H., and Edgar Muñoz, M.S.; and Sneha Prabhu, M.P.H., formerly of the IHPR.

The Scientific Planning Committee for the book and conference includes Drs. Ramirez and Trapido; Anna M. Nápoles, Ph.D., National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities; Elena V. Rios, M.D., National Hispanic Medical Association; Filipa C. Lynce, M.D., Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University Medical Center; Frank J. Penedo, Ph.D., Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Miami; Marcia R. Cruz-Correa, M.D., Ph.D., University of Puerto Rico; Mariana C. Stern, Ph.D., Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Southern California; Martin Mendoza, Ph.D., U.S. Food and Drug Administration; Virginia Kaklamani, M.D., Mays Cancer Center; Ysabel Duron, Latinas Contra Cancer; and Sandi Stanford, Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation.

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