Posts tagged cancer
Diabetes and obesity are the two most significant health threats in South Texas, according to a new report published online in Springer Open Books by the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) in the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
The South Texas Health Status Review, originally self-published in 2008, was updated this year to study more than 35 health conditions and risk factors and how people in South Texas may be differently affected than those in the rest of Texas or nation.
The Review, in addition to singling out diabetes and obesity, also indicates that the South Texas region faces higher rates than the rest of Texas or nation for:
- Cervical, liver, stomach and gallbladder cancers
- Child and adolescent leukemia
- Neural tube defects
- Other birth defects
- Childhood lead poisoning
“The Review is a roadmap of the health inequalities that burden the health of South Texas residents, especially Hispanics, compared the rest of Texas and nation,” said Amelie G. Ramirez, Dr.P.H., lead editor of the Review and director of the IHPR at the Health Science Center. “We hope this knowledge motivates researchers and public health leaders to create and shape interventions to reverse those inequalities.”
South Texas, a 38-county region spanning 45,000 square miles along the Texas-Mexico border and northward up to Bexar County, is home to 18 percent of the state’s population.
Yet South Texas residents, who are predominantly Hispanics, struggle with lower educational levels, less income and less access to health care.
To chart the health status of the region, Dr. Ramirez teamed up with the Texas Department of State Health Services with support from the Health Science Center’s Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC), represented by regional dean Leonel Vela, M.D., and the Cancer Therapy and Research Center (CTRC), represented by director Ian M. Thompson, M.D.
The team analyzed county, state and national data to compare South Texas’ incidence, prevalence and mortality rates for more than 35 health indicators—from communicable diseases like HIV/AIDS to cancers to maternal health and even environmental health—to the rest of Texas and the nation by age, sex, race/ethnicity and rural/urban location.
The Review found that South Texas had higher rates, compared to the rest of Texas, for 12 of the health indicators analyzed. Incidence rates for many of the health indicators were even higher for South Texas Hispanics than non-Hispanic whites.
For example, the percentage of obese adults in South Texas (32.7%) was higher than that of the rest of Texas (29.1%) and nation (27%).
Hispanics in South Texas also were more obese (37.9%) than their white counterparts.
“Obesity, a risk factor for diabetes and certain cancers, can be directly linked to lifestyle behaviors, such as inadequate physical activity and poor eating habits,” Dr. Ramirez said. “Prevention research efforts directed at obesity and diabetes could significantly reduce the burden of disease in South Texas communities.”
Check out this fact-filled video about the accomplishments and possibilities of cancer research.
The video, from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), urges people to learn more about how cancer research is saving lives, and join in supporting National Cancer Research Month here.
Latinas who have an abnormal mammogram result take 33 days longer to reach definitive diagnosis of breast cancer than non-Hispanic white women, according to a new study by the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Such a time delay can have a critical impact on tumor size, stage at diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, and survival of subsequent breast cancer.
For this study, published online in SpringerPlus in March 2013, IHPR researchers worked with partners in the federally funded Redes En Acción: The National Latino Cancer Network to evaluate the differences in time to diagnosis of breast cancer among 186 Latinas and 74 non-Hispanic whites who received an abnormal mammogram result in six U.S. cities.
Analysis showed that Latinas’ median time to definitive diagnosis of breast cancer was 60 days, compared to just 27 days for non-Hispanic white women.
“This long delay puts Latinas at greater risk of being diagnosed with larger tumors and more advanced-stage breast cancer, which can affect prognosis,” said Amelie G. Ramirez, Dr.P.H., the study’s corresponding author, director of the IHPR, and Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the School of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Given this delay and that cancer now is the leading cause of Latino death, this study also signals a greater need for ethnically and culturally appropriate interventions to facilitate Latinas’ successful entry into, and progression through, the cancer care system, Dr. Ramirez said.
Dr. Ramirez’ team recently found that extra support for patients, called “patient navigation,” can lead to faster diagnosis for Latinas after an abnormal mammogram result.
In that study, published in Cancer, women who received help from trained patient navigators had significantly shorter time delays between an abnormal mammogram and definitive diagnosis—whether positive or negative for breast cancer—than those who did not receive navigation. Services provided by navigators included culturally-sensitive support and help overcoming barriers related to transportation, child care, insurance, language and more.
Yet, as the Latino population surges, there aren’t enough Latino researchers who are working to uncover new ways to treat cancer or pave way for novel studies of cultural, linguistic and socioeconomic issues to prevent Latinos from suffering worse cancer outcomes.
But there is good news.
The number of Latino cancer researchers is starting to grow, thanks to Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training, a program that encourages master’s-level students and professionals to pursue a doctoral degree and careers studying how cancer affects Latinos differently.
Éxito! participants attend a five-day summer institute that enhances understanding of cancer and research, encourages networking among peers and leaders in the field, and provides tips, tools and templates for successfully applying to a doctoral program. Participants also are eligible to apply for paid internships.
In 2011 and 2012, the program has had 37 participants.
Many have applied to doctoral programs, and eight already have been accepted:
- Maria Brietzke – PhD in Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Roger Figueroa –Illinois Transdisciplinary Obesity Prevention PhD/MPH Program, University of Illinois
- Marivelisse Soto-Salgado – DrPH in Social Determinants of Health, University of Puerto Rico School of Public Health
- Mary Vanellys Diaz-Santana – PhD in Epidemiology, University of Massachusetts Amherst
- Lizette Rangel – DrPH in Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences, University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston
- Laura Rubalcava – PhD in Clinical Psychology, George Washington University, DC
- Donaji Stelzig – DrPH in Health Promotion and Community Health Sciences, Texas A&M Health Science Center, School of Rural Public Health
- Cynthia Wittenburg – DrPH, University of Texas School of Public Health in El Paso
Several Éxito! alumni also completed internships studying various aspects of Latino cancer.
Go here to learn about interns and their projects and see what other progress Éxito! alumni are making.
Apply here for the 2013 Éxito! program. Applications are due March 15, 2013.
Éxito! is funded by the National Cancer Institute and directed by The Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Sandra San Miguel de Majors, a research instructor at the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at the Health Science Center at San Antonio, touted the use of community health workers—called promotores—to improve people’s health at the Latina Health Policy Briefing for Promotores de Salud on Sept. 26, 2012, at the White House in Washington, D.C.
The policy briefing, organized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to review the affordable care act, united key Latino health care providers, researchers, stakeholders and promotores to discuss successful evidenced-based Latino research initiatives utilizing promotores.
The briefing featured Cecilia Muñoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council and Kathleen Sebelius, HHS secretary.
San Miguel participated in a panel featuring promotora research and outreach successes. Representing IHPR director Dr. Amelie Ramirez and IHPR researcher Dr. Deborah Parra-Medina, San Miguel gave an overview on IHPR’s obesity research projects:
- Salud America! The RWJF Research Network to Prevent Obesity Among Latino Children is a national network of researchers, community leaders, policymakers, and others who are working together to seek environmental and policy solutions to address Latino childhood obesity.
- Enlace is testing the effectiveness of a culturally appropriate, theory-based intervention to increase moderate to vigorous physical activity among impoverished Latinas in South Texas.
- The SaludToday social media campaign is stimulating an ongoing discussion among Latino families, community leaders, health researchers and others interested in improving the health of U.S. Latinos.
“We are discovering through our research efforts that promotores play a major role in effectively changing our Latino community perspective toward health and physical activity,” San Miguel said. “In addition to helping to navigate the community and connecting them with the appropriate social support resources, promotores are acting as behavioral change agents.”
Also represented on the promotora panel were the Health Disparities Department at the American Cancer Society, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.
Julie Chavez Rodrigues, associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and granddaughter of the late Latino rights activist César Chavez, made closing remarks.
“It was an honor for me to represent the IHPR and our team of IHPR promotores, whose passion and dedication enables us to implement successful evidenced based and community based participatory research programs within our Latino communities at a local and national level,” San Miguel said. “It was a wonderful experience; I was humbled to be in such distinguished company.”
Cancer is now the leading killer of Hispanics in the U.S., the latest sign it’s beginning to displace heart disease as the nation’s top cause of death, the Associated Press reports:
The rest of the country may not be far behind, “probably in the next 10 years,” said Rebecca Siegel of the American Cancer Society. She is the lead author of a study reporting the new findings. That may be a conservative estimate. Government health statisticians think cancer could overtake heart disease as the top U.S. killer as early as this year, or at least in the next two or three.
For decades, heart disease has been the nation’s leading cause of death. But cancer has been closing in on it. That’s largely because of better heart disease treatments, including statin drugs that lower cholesterol.
Why is cancer in Hispanics on the rise faster than other groups?
The reason cancer is already the biggest cause of death for Hispanics is probably because that population as a whole in the U.S. is younger than non-Hispanic whites and blacks. Many Hispanics are young immigrants, most of them from Mexico. Cancer tends to kill people at younger ages than heart disease.
Cancer society researchers looked at federal death data for 2009 and found 29,935 U.S. Hispanics died of cancer, slightly more than the 29,611 who died of heart disease. It was the first year in which cancer deaths surpassed heart disease in that ethnic group.
The news stems from a in the September/October issue of CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.
A free telephone/web education program available in English, Spanish or Portuguese is set for 1-2:30 p.m. EST on Sept. 13, 2012.
The program, NHL (non-Hodgkin lymphoma) & CLL (chronic lymphocytic leukemia) Diagnosis and Treatment Update, will feature speaker Dr. Christopher R. Flowers from The Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta. Participants will have the opportunity to ask Dr. Flowers a question during the program.
This program is sponsored by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) in collaboration with Abrale and Alianza Latina and supported by a grant from Genentech and Biogen Idec. The continuing education portion is sponsored by LLS.
To register, go here.
With literally more than a million cancer cases a year in the U.S., the special emotional needs of children of adult cancer patients are sometimes overlooked.
The one-week camps give kids ages 6-13 a chance to have a fun-filled week and “just be kids” and get extra attention and support, according the group’s website.
Since 2001, Camp Kesem has grown from a single camp to 37 active chapters in 22 states.
Camp Kesem Berkeley (Calif.), for example, supports children in the Greater Bay Area and Tri-Valley area by putting on a completely free week-long overnight summer camp for children and teens (ages 6-16) who have a parent that either has or had cancer or has passed away from cancer. The group buses from Berkeley to the Santa Cruz mountains for activities such as kayaking, drama programs, arts and crafts, cooking and science, archery, rock-climbing, and more.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has published “The Science of Research on Racial/Ethnic Discrimination and Health,” a supplement to the American Journal of Public Health, to highlight the need for and state of empirical research on racial/ethnic discrimination and its association with the health and health care received by minorities.
The issue opens with an article that reviews current measures, research approaches, data resources, and results of research on race/ethnicity-based health care discrimination, and goes on to focus on measurement, implicit bias, perception of discrimination and institutional racism, while also suggesting areas for future research.
The issue can serve as a valuable resource for researchers in this topic area and will help position researchers, policymakers, and professionals at all levels of health care to address the effects of discrimination in the evolving health care environment.
Access free full texts of the issue’s article here.
Check out these upcoming conferences on Latino health and cancer health disparities issues:
Health Disparities Conference: March 6-8, 2012
Xavier University of Louisiana College of Pharmacy’s Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education will host its Fifth Health Disparities Conference March 6-8, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The conference, titled Achieving Health Equity through Access, Advocacy, Treatment, and Policy Development, will include discussions on successful multidisciplinary models for improved health systems outcomes.
NIH Conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation: March 19-20, 2012
The 5th Annual NIH Conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation: Science at the Crossroads is scheduled March 19-20, 2012 in Bethesda, Maryland. The goal of the conference is to facilitate growth in the research base by providing a forum for communicating and networking about the science of dissemination and implementation.
AACR 2012 Annual Meeting: March 31-April 4, 2012
The American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2012, scheduled March 31 to April 4 in Chicago will highlight the latest findings in all major areas of cancer research. Investigators in various disciplines will attend and benefit from hearing about these advances and networking with colleagues. The conference theme, Accelerating Science: Concept to Clinic, emphasizes the synergy among basic, clinical and translational research that will continue to lead to effective cancer therapies and prevention strategies.
NHMA 16th Annual Conference: April 26-29, 2012
The National Hispanic Medical Association will host its 16th Annual Conference April 26-29, 2012 in Washington D.C. Theme of the conference is Innovations that Improve the Health of Hispanics, Families and Communities.