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Cancer Rates, Deaths Higher In US Among Minorities, New American Association For Cancer Research Report Says

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Cancer rates and deaths are higher in the United States among minorities, according to a new report that outlines reasons for the disparities and recommendations for solutions.

Cancer rates and deaths have been declining overall, except for many in the minority community. That's according to a new report from the American Association for Cancer Research, based in Philadelphia.

"I felt alone. I felt lost," breast cancer survivor 44-yera-old Comeshia Williams said. "I did not know where to begin."

Black women have higher rates of breast cancer than white women, among a variety of disparities outlined in a new report from the American Association for Cancer Research.

"There is still an approximately 13% higher cancer mortality rate for minority communities," Dr. Lisa Newman, who led the report, said.

Newman says disparities were found among many groups.

While Black people had higher breast, prostate and myeloma rates, deaths from liver cancer are doubled among Hispanics, and kidney cancer is 80% higher for Native Americans compared to white people.

"It's extremely important that we all assume some ownership for this problem," Newman said.

While the situation has improved slightly, the report cites a number of reasons for continued cancer disparities.

"Socioeconomic disadvantages very frequently go hand in hand with this systemic racism," Newman said.

Newman says the pandemic made a bad situation even worse.

"We had to divert health care resources from cancer screening, cancer treatment, cancer diagnostic procedures and cancer research," Newman said. "That put us at a disadvantage in terms of cancer outcomes overall."

Among the recommendations, AACR says the country needs more affordable health care, extra funding for research, new ways to educate patients and better internet access for telemedicine.

Obesity is a major contributing factor to cancer. It's also more common among minorities. Doctors say if that was better controlled, cancer rates could be reduced by about 25%.

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