Geographic Disparities in Cancer Care
As part of a larger understanding of the social determinants of health, geography—whether it’s rural or metropolitan, urban or suburban—plays a huge part in how patients understand, receive, and access care. Regardless of zip code, community, or travel distance, patients have a right to receive the best possible care for their cancer diagnosis. As staunch patient advocates, oncology nurses are primed to help patients navigate geographic disparities and overcome challenges they face in treatment.
Latinas’ Breast Cancer Genetic Disparities Require More Focused Counseling and Testing
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer death in Latina women. Compared to all patients with breast cancer, Latinas are the second most common ethnic group to carry BRCA1 deleterious mutations, after Ashkenazi Jewish women. However, Latinas are less likely to receive genetic counseling education, referrals, and testing services and have the least awareness of genetic testing compared to non-Hispanic whites and other minority populations. Research indicates that despite their low awareness, Latinas have high interest in participating in genetic counseling and testing.
Prostate Cancer Disparities Disappear With Equal Access to Care
Typically, African American men have worse outcomes from prostate cancer than their white counterparts. But according to the results of a new study in patients in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health system where all patients have equal access to care, no disparities exist between the two groups—in fact, the African American men in the VA system had better outcomes than non-Hispanic whites. The findings were reported in Cancer.
Nurses Are Critical to Reducing Global Geographic Cancer Disparities
Cancer is a global health problem. According to the American Cancer Society, cancer incidence is expected to continue to grow to nearly 27 million new cases around the world by 2040. In 134 of 183 countries, cancer is the first or second leading cause of premature death for people aged 30–69 years, and it ranks third or fourth in an additional 45 countries. Although cancer is a major health issue across the world, outcomes differ depending on a patient’s country of origin.
Healthcare Coverage Linked to Racial and Ethnic Cancer Disparities
Uninsured women or women on Medicaid are at a greater risk to develop advanced stage III breast cancer compared to women with health insurance, according to the results of a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded study reported in JAMA Oncology. Naomi Ko, MD, and Gregory Calip, PhD, noted that up to 47% of racial and ethnic disparities in advanced stage breast cancer could be mitigated by health insurance coverage.
Women With Diabetes Are Less Likely to Get Cancer Screenings
Modest differences may exist among women with diabetes compared to healthy controls when it comes to adhering to screening recommendations for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers, according to results of a study published in Diabetologia.
Trump's Pre-Existing Condition Record; Geography Affects Insurance Status; State Vaping Regulations
The pre-existing condition coverageAffordable Care Act is a bipartisan plank that connects every policy conversation about health care. Public opinion overwhelmingly supports maintaining clauses to protect coverage for those with pre-existing conditions—like cancer—through treatment and survivorship, particularly as people change jobs and insurance companies.
Breast Cancer Is More Fatal in Men Than Women
Men have higher death rates than women across all stages of breast cancer, study findings reported in JAMA Oncology show. In the study, five-year overall survival after a breast cancer diagnosis was 77.6% for men and 86.4% for women.
Nurses Must Understand Health Disparities to Provide Effective Patient Education
Issues pertaining to geography, socioeconomic status, or racial or ethnic background can prohibit patients from accessing the treatment and care they need to successfully navigate their cancer diagnosis. Connecting patients to healthcare professionals and tailored interventions that educate, motivate, and reduce barriers can be a tremendous boon for their care and ultimately their outcomes.
Getting the Right Treatment at the Right Time Reduces Inequities in Breast Cancer Survival
Although death rates from breast cancer have been falling, the trend has not been equal among all women. Looking at breast cancer survival on a population level can tell us how effective our public health and healthcare systems are at early diagnosis, delivery of evidence-based treatment, and management of follow-up care.
Isolation Hinders Care in Rural Appalachia
Found along the expansive Appalachian mountain range in the Eastern United States, Appalachia is legally recognized as an economically disadvantaged area that’s home to a unique population of patients requiring special considerations.
Social Disparities in Radiation Therapy
Global radiation oncology research has seen an increased commitment to addressing disparities in the world and at home. The more radiation oncology proves and improves itself as a therapeutic modality, the more we are faced with the reality that the odds for survival are related to geography, poverty, education, and race.
Geriatric Oncology Ambulatory Care Clinics Address Older Patients’ Needs
Traditionally defined as patients aged 65 and older, older adults make up the majority of patients with cancer. Ambulatory care clinics with a specialized focus on older patients with cancer can provide age-specific care and an interprofessional team of providers well versed in cancer, aging, and geriatric assessment. Through geriatric oncology ambulatory care clinics, providers can work together to identify and coordinate plans to individualize treatment and supportive care for older patients.
Older Adults With Cancer
The Baby Boomer generation—born between the years 1946 and 1964—currently accounts for more than 76 million Americans, all of whom will be older than 65 in the next decade. With an aging population comes health complications and growing comorbidities. Cancer is often referred to as a disease of the aging, and healthcare providers will need to be equipped to treat the impending wave of older adults with cancer. Oncology nurses are at the frontlines of that care and play a key role in the successful treatment of older patients with cancer using evidence-based interventions and age-specific care.
Access to Care and Nondiscrimination Are Two Key Ways to Address Cancer Disparities, According to ONS and ANA Position Statements
Cancer knows no race, color, nationality, or ethnicity. But although any person may one day develop cancer, incidence and mortality rates for some cancers are disproportionately higher in certain racial, ethnic, geographic, or socioeconomic groups. Here are just a few of the many identified cancer disparities, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Young and Jones Introduce Nursing Where It’s Needed Act
In an increasingly rare show of bipartisan common ground, U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-IN) and Doug Jones (D-AL) introduced the Nursing Where It’s Needed (Nursing WIN) Act in April 2019. The bill would assist nurses in underserved areas of the country—particularly rural communities—that are facing nursing staff shortages.
Patient Social Determinants; Trauma in Nursing; House Overturns Obamacare Move
Through a combination of expert clinical knowledge, relationship-building skills, and routine selection as the most trusted profession in the United States, nurses are one of the most impactful healthcare professionals when it comes to addressing patient issues. Challenges—like financial toxicity and limited access to care—are central to nursing advocacy efforts, and oncology nurses know firsthand the negative impacts they have on patients with cancer.
Health Disparities Are a Focus for NIH Cancer Awareness and Prevention Promotions
The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH’s) mission is to enhance health and reduce illness throughout the country. Cancer, as the second leading cause of death in the United States, tops the list of diseases on which NIH is focused. Understanding the impact of health disparities, NIH has effectively widened its reach to touch more underserved communities with new prevention efforts.
Considerations for Care of LGBTQ+ Patients With Cancer
Cancer in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual, or queer/questioning (LGBTQ+) population has remained underresearched, and information that is known is less likely to reach oncology professionals who could use it to improve care. In “Care of the LGBTQ+ Patient With Cancer,” Carlton Brown, RN, PhD, AOCN®, NEA-BC, FAAN, president of Zenith Health Care Solutions, Inc., in Portland, OR, and David Rice, PhD, MSN, RN, NP, NEA-BC, director of education, evidence-based practice, and research at the City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, CA, examined the delivery of quality cancer care in people identifying as LGBTQ+, along with strategies for addressing their unique needs and minimizing barriers to care. They presented the session on Thursday, April 11, 2019, at the ONS 44th Annual Congress in Anaheim, CA.
What Does the Research Say About Genetic Testing and Underserved Populations?
Underserved communities largely have low rates of cancer genetic testing. Although the reasons vary, they can include lack of referrals, no or underinsurance, prohibitive cost, lack of trust, lack of knowledge, discrimination issues, or competing health needs.
HRSA Awards $293 Million to Clinicians, Students to Enhance Workforce
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced $293 million in new funding through programs at the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) and Nurse Corps for the healthcare community to expand the clinician workforce. Strengthening care and support can help address gaps in care and limit growing socioeconomic disparities.
Bipartisan Drug Debates; Youth Vaping Epidemic; Socioeconomic Disparities and Cancer
Congress has settled in after the shutdown, and new members have taken their place on committees to begin the real work in Washington, DC. This week, the House and Senate convened similar panels to discuss the bipartisan goal to lower soaring drug costs for all Americans. Patients and families provided emotional testimony about lost loved ones because of pricey prescription medications that were out of reach.
U.S. Pediatric Cancer Incidence Varies by Geography
A new study demonstrated that pediatric cancer rates vary by U.S. state and geographic region, with the highest rates in the Northeast, specifically New Hampshire; Washington, DC; and New Jersey. The study findings were published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
NIH Launches Study Focused on Prostate Cancer Rates in African American Men
To better understand environmental and genetic impacts associated with prostate cancer in African American men, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) began a new study, Research on Prostate Cancer in Men of African Ancestry: Defining the Roles of Genetics, Tumor Markers, and Social Stress (RESPOND). The research program has received more than $26 million in funding and seeks to understand why African American men have disproportionally higher rates of aggressive prostate cancer than any other racial or ethnic population.
Geographic Health Disparities Affect Access to Clinical Trials
Geographic location impacts life expectancy and even cancer care. Marylynn Ostrowski Ireland, PhD, of Viability, Inc., and Deborah Watkins Bruner, PhD, RN, FAAN, of Emory University in Atlanta, GA, discussed geographic health disparities during a session at the 43rd Annual Congress in Washington, DC.
ONS Members Share Resources, Experiences With Philippine Colleagues
Cancers are never confined by borders. For most disease types, the ones seen in clinics and institutions throughout the United States are the same found in other first-, second-, and third-world countries. The realities facing cancer, treatments, and patient outcomes are often challenging to address no matter where you live, and it’s one of the many common threads that tie oncology professionals together the world over.
Disparities Remain in Breast Cancer Mortality Based on Health Insurance Status
Significantly higher rates of death are found in Medicaid and uninsured hospital admissions when compared to Medicare-enrolled admissions with breast cancer, suggesting that insurance status “appears to play a crucial role in patient outcomes.” Researchers with Drexel University in Philadelphia presented their findings on Friday, December 8, during a poster session at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
African American Women Continue to Experience Breast Cancer Disparities
Despite interventions to bridge the gap in cancer disparities between African American and white women, racial disparities in breast cancer mortality exist. The National Cancer Institute reported that African American women have a higher mortality rate from breast cancer as compared to Caucasian women (33.8 versus 25.0, respectively).
Bilingual, Bicultural Patient Navigators May Reduce Disparities in Latinas With Breast Cancer
Researchers from the University of Texas (UT) Health San Antonio have found that providing Latinas with breast cancer with a bilingual, bicultural patient navigator can improve access to care and reduce treatment delays. The researchers presented their findings during the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium on Tuesday, December 5.
Quality Cancer Care Includes Recognizing Underrepresented Patients
For oncology nurses, quality cancer care isn’t just about individualizing care for your patients, following local and national guidelines to the letter, or educating patients and family members to get them through their cancer diagnosis. Those are critical components to great cancer care, but tangible and intangible elements impact oncology as well.
What Oncology Nurses Need to Know About Cultural Differences During End-of-Life Care
Beyond the emotional complexities of end-of-life care, a multitude of cultural nuances and differences can affect the care that oncology nurses need to provide to their patients and family members. As the face of the healthcare team, oncology nurses are often called on to navigate this delicate area within the cancer continuum.
FDA Funds Research Into Health Disparities
A wide gap in health disparities continues to exist in the United States, affecting countless underserved and underrepresented Americans. Despite some focus on education, assistance, and outreach, pockets of U.S. citizens are still facing healthcare challenges because of their race, socioeconomic status, location, or other disparities. Because many different factors can contribute to a person’s health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is dedicating research funding to learn more about how people’s life situations have an impact on their overall health.
CDC Releases Latest Cancer Report
Breakthroughs and advancements in research and management have significantly changed the ways we understand how cancer works and how best to treat it. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its Annual Report to the Nation on the State of Cancer.
Women Respond Better to Esophageal Cancer Treatment
Women with locally advanced esophageal cancer that is treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy before surgery are more likely to have a favorable response to their cancer treatment and less likely to have recurrence than men are, according to the results of a study published in Annals of Thoracic Surgery.
Ethnic Minority Patients May Receive Inferior End-of-Life Care
According to the results of a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, African American and Hispanic patients with ovarian cancer who lived in Texas were more likely to receive invasive or toxic treatment and be admitted to intensive care in their final month of life than their Caucasian counterparts.
FDA Funds Research Into Health Disparities
Disparities continue to create a wide gap in health in the United States. Many factors can contribute to a person’s health, and we still have much to learn about the issue. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced it will be dedicating research funding to find out more about how lifestyle impacts health.