Experts publish new book with recommendations to reduce Latino cancer

As U.S. Latinos face a staggering 142% projected rise in cancer cases by 2030, UT Health San Antonio leaders gathered international cancer experts to publish a new book with innovative research and recommendations to reduce Latino cancer.

The book, Advancing the Science of Cancer in Latinos in Springer Open Books, showcases results of the same-name conference that brought 300 researchers to San Antonio in 2018.

A follow-up conference, set for Feb. 26-28, 2020, in San Antonio, is open for registration.

Included in the new book are promising research findings on Latino cancer and strategies for new research covering the entire cancer continuum, from advances in risk assessment, prevention, screening, detection, diagnosis, treatment, survivorship and policy.

"Our book, Advancing the Science of Cancer in Latinos, takes an unprecedented look at Latino cancer from many disciplines to encourage the kind of collaboration among diverse professionals that we need to move the field forward," said Amelie Ramirez, Dr.P.H., co-editor of the book. She is professor and chair of the Department of Population Health Sciences and director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at UT Health San Antonio. The IHPR co-hosted the 2018 conference with the university's Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center.

"We believe the recommendations here can spark dialog and collaboration for new solutions to eliminate cancer health disparities among Latino populations," she said.

The book and conference are a call to action to address Latino cancer health disparities.

Cancer is the leading cause of death in Latinos

Latinos face a higher risk for certain cancers, such as stomach and liver cancer, compared to whites. This stems from cultural barriers to care, low screening rates, underrepresentation in clinical studies and data that fails to reflect the diversity within the U.S. Latino population.

The authors urge researchers, population health clinicians, communities and policymakers to see the Latino population as comprised of many subgroups. For example, a family's country of origin can affect genetics, environment, culture, food preferences and lifestyle.

The book recommends that researchers create studies based on subgroups to provide more meaningful results, as health care moves to a customized approach through precision medicine.

This research approach is important because Latinos are projected to be one-third of the U.S. population by 2050."

Dr. Amelie Ramirez, co-editor of the book

The book provides recommendations for action in these areas:

  • Genetics, environment and lifestyle of Latino subgroups
  • Latino cancer risk, prevention and screening
  • Biology of cancer health disparities
  • Advances in cancer therapy and clinical trials
  • Latino cancer in the era of precision medicine
  • Engaging Latinos in cancer research
  • Emerging policies in U.S. health care

"We hope readers will explore this important research to gain a fresh, comprehensive perspective on Latino cancer health disparities," Dr. Ramirez said. "We anticipate this will inspire critical and strategic thinking about how people can apply this research and practice to their work, leading to more collaboration, research and success in improving the health and lives of U.S. Latinos."

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