Monday, October 15, 2012

When cancer is just another challenge...

Imagine finding out you have cancer and feeling as though it's just one more in a long line of hurdles to get over in your life. Research shows that people who are challenged socioeconomically are more likely to die of cancer. It doesn't matter what race or ethnicity they are, the disproportionate death rates are only seen along the lines of income and education. For example, cancer deaths among African American and Hispanic men with a high school education or less are almost 3 times higher than cancer deaths among all male college graduates combined. The numbers increase when lung cancer is pulled out specifically, with deaths occurring 4-5 times more often.

The reasons for these higher numbers are rooted in initial risk factors, and in the less favorable outcomes after diagnosis. People with a lower socioeconomic status (SES) are more likely to engage in activities and behaviors that increase their risk for cancer, such as tobacco use, physical inactivity, and making poor nutritional choices.

Lower SES is also seen in communities and families with inadequate health insurance, limited access to preventative care and treatment services (which leads to less favorable outcomes mentioned above), and lower literacy rates. These issues lead to late-stage diagnoses, missed treatments, and an inability to understand the instructions given to them by medical professionals. 

Hope Cancer Resources is here to support individuals along their cancer journey, no matter the diagnosis. Our patient assistance programs are vital to those individuals who are unable to manage the cost of their care or the logistics of getting to appointments, as well as those whose first language is Spanish. Instead of slipping through the cracks of low SES, we can help them navigate the journey with hope, and have a better shot at survival. Our educational programs make inroads in our community to help alleviate the burden of behaviors that increase cancer risks. We hope to break the cycle of some of these behaviors and make a legacy-affecting difference in families.

Find out how you can be a part of our efforts in Northwest Arkansas with a gift, or by volunteering, by contacting us at 479-361-5847.

No comments: