The Center for Cancer Disparities Research at California State University, Fullerton was established in 2006 to address the increasing burden of health disparities, especially in cancer. Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the United States, and accounts for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths. (American Cancer Society, Cancer Facts and Figures, 2015). In 2015, there is expected to be more than 1.6 million new cases of cancer (excludes basal and squamous cell skin cancers and in situ carcinomas except urinary bladder), with an expected 589,430 deaths—more than 1,600 deaths a day. (ACS, CFF, 2015). In California alone, there is expected to be more than 56,000 deaths in 2014 due to cancer. (ACS, CFF, 2014).
While cancer impacts us all, the burden has been particularly high among racial/ethnic minority groups. Overall, African Americans are more likely to develop and die from cancer than any other racial/ethnic group. (ACS, CFF, 2015). The death rate for cancer among African American males is 29% higher than among white males. For African American females, it is 14% higher than among white females. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have the highest incidence rates for liver and stomach cancers of all ethnic groups in both men and women and among the highest death rates for these cancer sites —about 2.5 times and nearly double that of whites respectively. (ACS, CFF, 2015). Similarly, Hispanics have higher rates of cancer associated with infection, such as uterine cervix, liver, and stomach. Incidence rates of liver and stomach cancer, for instance, are about twice as high in Hispanic men and women than in whites. (ACS, CFF, 2015). These are just a few alarming examples of the health disparities in cancer.
Numerous factors contribute to these health disparities, such as access to care, lack of insurance, availability of quality care and treatment, and socioeconomic status. Additionally, the onset of cancer may also be influenced by both behavioral (e.g. diet and physical activity) and genetic factors. CSUF’s Center for Cancer Disparities Research was developed to address these issues and build partnerships in the community.