, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 71-74

Social disparities in cancer: lessons from a multidisciplinary workshop

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The problem of social disparities in cancer continues to challenge health care researchers. This article summarizes the themes and lessons emerging from a 2004 workshop that convened researchers from academic and government venues to review and discuss the extant literature, and to develop new conceptual frameworks for future investigations. Workshop participants explored the factors that contribute to social inequalities in cancer in the U.S. including the relative contributions of race and racism, the independent contributions of socioeconomic position, insurance, and access to care. Noting the heterogeneous patterns of inequality across cancer types, the multiple underlying causes of disparities, and the role of the health care system itself, the authors call for an organized program of multidisciplinary research.

Address correspondence to: Joel S. Weissman, PhD, Associate Professor of Health Policy, Institute for Health Policy, Massachusetts General Hospital, 50 Staniford Street, 9th floor, Boston, MA 02114, USA; Ph.: 617-724-4731; Fax: 617-724-4738; e-mail: jweissman@partners.org