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Ethnic Variation Among Cancer Patients Essay

2298 words - 9 pages

Ethnicity is a term used to distinguish individuals and classify them into groups based on cultural and occasionally physical characteristics. Ethnic groups vary in the degree to which they exhibit common ethnic factors from those who share no or little cultural traditions to those who share a wider range of factors such as cultural traditions, place of origin, ancestry, language, and religion. To clarify the misunderstanding between ethnic groups and ethnic minorities, ethnic groups vary in their size from those of a small number which called minorities to those of a large number which called majorities(Stillwell & Ham, 2009). There is a substantial evidence that suggests the presence of disparities among different ethnic groups and different socio-economic levels(Hill et al., 2010a, 2010b; Jeffreys et al., 2005; King, 2000, 2001; Tobias & Cheung, 2003) . Maori, for instance, have a lower life expectancy rate than that of non-Maori, to be exact Maori have life expectancy lower by 9 years than non-Maori (Hefford et al., 2005; Tobias et al., 2009 ). Moreover, they show higher susceptibility rates to disease, particularly heart and respiratory diseases and diabetes, compared to non-Maori(Hefford et al., 2005; King, 2000, 2001; Tobias et al., 2009). Similarly, people of low socio-economic level - poor education, housing, and low income- have poor health status (King, 2000, 2001; Tobias & Cheung, 2003). In fact, although ethnic groups are closely related to socio-economic status, ethnic disparities exists in all different groups with different socio-economic level(Tobias & Cheung, 2003). In order to explore ethnic disparities in depth, studies that prove cancer inequalities among different ethnic groups will be provided.

Ethnic inequalities in cancer mortality has been obviously spotted since 1980 and since that time the gap is increasing(Jeffreys et al., 2005). Studies show clear relationship between ethnic and health outcomes of cancer patients (Hill et al., 2010a, 2010b; Jeffreys et al., 2005; Tobias & Cheung, 2003). In other words, in countries including Australia, New Zealand, and North America indigenous people have higher incidence of cancer and lower relative survival rate than non-indigenous people(Hill et al., 2010a, 2010b). The health inequalities could be measured in year of survival for cancer patients. For instance, a study conducted in New Zealand had investigated the link between cancer survival and stage of cancer at diagnosis among Maori, pacific islanders, and non-Maori/non-pacific. General founding includes that Maori have an average of 5-years relative survival rate which is the lowest among the other two groups. Stage of cancer at diagnosis partly explains the inequalities in cancer survival. This study examined information of 115811 adult patients who have invasive cancer. The information has been obtained from the cancer registry and National Health Index over 8 years period (1994 – 2002). Briefly describing the...

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