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The Unequal Race In Cancer

By Courtney Clayton

Imagine one day you are feeling ill and you go into the doctors office and you find
out you have cancer, it is okay though because the doctors will take care of you.
wrong. You are denied cancer treatment because of your healthcare or even
worsebecause of your race. Individuals in the United States and all over the world
have been denied adequate treatment for cancer based on their income and sadly
even their race. There has to be something done about this. Innocent people are
dying every year because of this disparity and inequality. According to a University
of San Diego study, there is a 47 percent relative survival difference in AfricanAmericans and
Whites (Murphy
2013) when dealing
with cancer. Would
you allow this to
happen to your family
This graph proves
that African
Americans are less
likely to develop
cancer than Whites
but have a higher
mortality rate if
diagnosed with
cancer than Whites.

Figure 1.1 shows the difference between Black and White mortality rates in
cancer. Retrieved from:

Inequality in
healthcare and cancer
treatment has been
occurring for
generations and still
exists today. It is up to
our current generation
to make a change for
future generations.

This inequality does not only affect those of different races, but also those in poverty. It is
nearly impossible for an individual to get treated for cancer if they do not have
healthcare, and sadly according to PBS, 44 million people in this country have no health
insurance and another 38 million have inadequate health insurance or healthcare (PBS).
This is absolutely unacceptable; there has to be another option for these Americans. It is
not a fair world out there, but all individuals should have the security to be able to access

health care for themselves and their families. This should be guaranteed as a citizen of the
United States, or better yet, as a human being.

Figure 1.2 shows the Breast Cancer

Ribbon retrieved from:

Another problem surrounding this issue is the lack

of awareness within the communities of the United
States. Most Americans are not aware that this
inequality exists, especially racially. There are many
things one can do to help. You can start by raising
awareness. You can advocate for a change many
ways; you can hand out flyers, give speeches, and
also publish opinion pieces online. Anything you
can do to inform the people of your community
about this issue is crucial. It all begins with getting
individuals aware. The world will begin to hear our

voice if we all do it together.

On top of trying to raise awareness there are individuals currently trying to solve
this issue. According to an article, witness testimonies about disparity in cancer
treatment, levels of funding research, and various efforts are already being made to
eliminate disparities (House Government Reform Committee 2011). This is obviously
not enough. A new policy needs to be in place and that is: free cancer diagnosis and
treatment for ALL individuals. This does not only include those who are wealthy or have
healthcare; this includes EVERYONE. If the United States implements free screenings
and free treatment, the overall mortality rate of cancer and the racial gap between
different ethnicities will begin to diminish. Cancer is a horrible disease that will not
disappear anytime soon, but we can do something to help with the overall deaths to
cancer in the United States.
How can you help, you ask?
The answer is easy. Everyone in the community can help by raising awareness. But first
you have to educate yourself on the topic as I have done over the past few months. To be
effective you have to be educated on the issue to promote progress and change. You can
also get involved by joining a movement and protest against this inequality. The voice of
many is heard over the voice of one. The people being affected by the inequality of
cancer treatment and healthcare represent only the voice of one. It is up to us to be the
voice of many.
Do not let our future generations be affected by this inequality. You do not want your
family members to be mistreated like this generation. Let us make a change now. Get
educated, promote the new policy, be aware, and lets make a difference.

House Resource. org. (2011, January 4). Ethnic Minority Disparities in Cancer
Treatment [Video file]. Retrieved from
Murphy, J. (2013). Blacks Have Less Access to Cancer Specialists, Treatment. UCSD
News [San Diego].
PBS- Healthcare Crisis: The Uninsured. (n.d.). Retrieved from