Minority Cancer Awareness, Education Critical to Closing Mortality Gap
Texas Health Plans Support Awareness Month
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 1, 2014
CONTACT: Darrell Farr, 512-476-2091
AUSTIN, TEXAS – Texas Association of Health Plans (TAHP) is proud to participate in Minority Cancer Awareness Month to increase support for minority cancer education, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention in Texas. Thanks to House Bill 114 from the 82nd legislature, authored by Representative Ruth Jones McClendon (D-San Antonio), the State of Texas officially recognizes April as Minority Cancer Awareness Month.
According to the American Cancer Society, minority populations suffer the highest cancer death rate and the shortest survival time across the country. In 2010, a federal study of cancer screening rates in the U.S. found that the percentage of Americans tested for three major types of cancer was inadequate.
While cancer mortality rates have declined significantly in the U.S. since the early 1990s, a hidden trend has emerged; the minority mortality gap is growing. The statistics regarding the breast and cervical cancer mortality gap are particularly staggering.
In 2010, the National Cancer Institute estimated that 11,000 women would be diagnosed with cervical cancer in the U.S., and more than 4,000 would die from the disease. The death rate for African-American women was estimated to be twice that of white women.
"It is bothersome to see that not all Texans are getting the suggested cancer screenings and that disparities continue to persist for certain populations, “said David Gonzales, executive director of TAHP. “Screenings can find breast, cervical, and skin cancers at an early stage when treatment is more effective. TAHP and our members are committed to helping Texans fight cancer through prevention education and early detection which will improve the health of all Texans.”
As a result of Minority Cancer Awareness Month, several local programs are beginning to help minority women overcome barriers to breast and cervical cancer screening and treatment. Health plans operating in Texas also continue to encourage clinics and hospitals to enlist a variety of approaches to reduce racial disparities through screening programs that are culturally diverse and overcome the financial or logistical barriers faced by many minorities.
TAHP applauds Representative McClendon's effort to bring awareness to the need for annual screenings for at-risk populations. With innovation and strong leadership, Texans may one day view cancer in a whole new light —no longer as a potentially fatal disease but as a chronic disease that can be survived and managed because it will be diagnosed and treated in its earliest stages.
About Texas Association of Health Plans (TAHP)
Texas Association of Health Plans (TAHP) is a statewide trade association representing effectively all health plans (Commercial, Medicaid, CHIP and Medicare) doing business in Texas and is committed to improving access, value and quality of care throughout Texas. Utilizing legislative advocacy, education and collaboration with other member organizations, TAHP brings together industry leadership to develop answers to critical health care issues in the state. For more information, please visit www.tahp.org or call (512) 476-2091.