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Thursday, March 15, 2012 - 10:57am

Cancer Rates Show Racial Disparity

If you’re an African American living in Georgia, your chances of surviving cancer decrease, a study finds.

Researchers from the University of Georgia focused the study on mortality-to-incidence ratios, or MIR’s, across the state. Sara Wagner is an assistant research scientist involved with the study:

“We know blacks tend to get more cancer than whites and we know they die more often from cancer. But the question, the relevant question that we were able to look at here is: Do Blacks die more often from cancer just because they get more to begin with or are they dying even more than expected? And we find that they are dying more than expected.”

According to the study, blacks in Georgia have a higher MIR than their white counter parts. Oral cancer MIR is nearly two times greater for African-Americans than it is for whites. That rate is also higher than the national average.

Wagner says lower socio-economic conditions, lack of access to clinical care and poor behavior patterns such as alcohol and tobacco use increase regional rates.

The UGA study was recently published in the journal Cancer.