The Importance Of Health Disparities In Health Care

1764 Words 8 Pages
In a city with more than 8.4 million people, access to quality healthcare becomes an issue. One of the issues that patients face is health disparities between various races, ethnicities, gender and even body weight. Health disparities are gaps in the quality of health and health care that mirror differences in socioeconomic status, racial and ethnic background, and education level. These disparities may stem from many factors, including accessibility of health care, increased risk of disease from occupational exposure, and increased risk of disease from underlying genetic, ethnic, or familial factors. These differences are due to social inequalities and results in more avoidable illnesses and deaths in one group of people than another. There …show more content…
Cancer, as with all diseases, affects people of all racial/ethnic and socioeconomic class. While the percentage of deaths due to cancer decreased in NYC over the years, not all individuals were able to have access to the advances in healthcare. Three particular cancers that this study focused on was breast, colorectal and cervical cancer. The detection of cancer occurs in a series of sequential events that include prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, survival and death. A lack of attention in any of the initial phases of this timeline can be detrimental to a patient and lead to their death. The groups that face the most disadvantage when it comes to cancer treatments are Black and poor New Yorkers. Since 1994, breast cancer death rates have decreased in NYC among whites, blacks, Hispanics and Asians. While the death rate has decreased, new cases of breast cancer are highest among high-income white women, but low-income black women have the highest death rates. Black women who live in the poorest neighborhoods are diagnosed with and die from cervical cancer at higher rates than any other racial/ethnic or neighborhood-income group in …show more content…
Nationally, black Americans die from colorectal cancer at much higher rates than White, Hispanic and Asian Americans. In 2002-2006, black women in the U.S. died at a rate twice that of white and Asian women from colorectal cancer. In New York City, the gap in black/white death rate when it comes to colorectal cancer has fluctuated over the years but black New Yorkers have experienced the highest death rates from colorectal cancer since 1994. The black/white gap as of 2008 was 22% according to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. One possible explanation for the discrepancy in colorectal cancer is because of poverty levels. Poverty had a dramatic impact on the rate of colorectal cancer incidence among blacks, with 30% higher rates among those living in the poorest neighborhoods. One method of combatting the discrepancy between the various groups would be increasing the percent of early diagnoses. This will improve survival outcomes and, in some cases, may help to narrow disparities. For the three types of cancers that were discussed in the report, New Yorkers are less likely on average to be diagnosed early than US adults so early diagnoses is important. Other explanations for a higher rate of deaths Blacks due to cancer include higher risk factors, differential exposure to stress, discrimination in the healthcare system which can cause inadequate diagnosis or treatment and

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