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President's Cancer Panel: More Research Needed on Diverse Populations

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- As America's demographics continue changing -- with minorities predicted to become the majority in the country by 2050 -- cancer rates among minority populations are expected to nearly double in the coming decades.

An annual report released Thursday by the President's Cancer Panel says there's an urgent need to expand research and improve understanding of the facts that influence cancer risk and outcomes among diverse populations.

Howard University's Dr. Lasalle Leffall, chair of the president's panel, noted that most research today is based on white populations.

"Our knowledge of risks, cancer risks, incident, progress and outcome is based largely on studies on non-Hispanic white populations," Leffall said.

Lefall said he's learned some facts that call for a change to this limited research.

"Hispanics tend to have a higher incidence of cancer of the cervix and just because of numbers that means that they're going to have a higher death rate," he said.

He also added another tidbit: "Cancer of the breasts is more common in white women than in black women but black women tend to be have aggressive types thus we tend to have a higher death rate."

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