, Volume 83, Issue 2, pp 139-141
Date: 03 Mar 2006

Patient Navigation: A Community Based Strategy to Reduce Cancer Disparities

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Poor people experience substantial barriers when seeking timely screening, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. This was a major conclusion of the American Cancer Society (ACS) based on the findings of the ACS National Hearings on Cancer in the Poor in 1989. As national President of the Society that year, I had the privilege of chairing these hearings in seven American cities with testimony from poor people from all 50 states. The poor people who testified came from all racial and ethnic groups—whites, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans.

The key findings of the hearings were as follows: 1) Poor people face substantial barriers in seeking screening, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. 2) Poor people experience more pain, suffering, and death due to cancer because of late diagnosis and treatment. 3) Poor people make sacrifices in order to obtain care and often do not seek care because they cannot afford it. 4) Poor people often indicate that the educational system related to h ...