Posted 3 years ago

Health Disparities & Cancer

Health Disparities & Cancer

Cancer is a terrible disease that shows no discrimination.  It is widely known that socioeconomic status, access to quality healthcare, poverty, and culture are contributing factors to healthcare disparities.  As such, these factors can play a role in the lives of those that have been diagnosed with cancer, and are undergoing treatment.

While the disparities tend to be systemic in nature, there are some things that you can do to potentially help decrease the likelihood that you will be negatively impacted.

Taking a proactive approach to one’s health is one way in which you can address health disparities that might exist.  You are your own best advocate.  Don’t be afraid to ask your physician questions to help ensure you fully understand information being provided to you.  This will also help ensure you are able to make educated decisions about your health, that are both meaningful and honoring to you.

Being aware of any biases you might hold towards those in the medical field is another way in which you can help address health disparities that exist.  For example, those who have had unpleasant experiences with one healthcare provider might harbor those ill feelings resulting in “carry-over” when interacting with other healthcare providers.

Do not be afraid to see a healthcare professional at immediate onset of symptoms.  Far too often, “ignorance is bliss” is the attitude that is held when one starts to experience symptoms that arise.  We tend to “explain away” the symptoms, and hold the belief that if the symptom seemingly resolves on its own, that it “isn’t that serious.”  Unfortunately, this can result in a diagnosis being made at an advanced stage.

Increase your health literacy.  You do not need to be an expert in the healthcare field, but you do need to be an expert on your own personal health.  It is important to know your personal health history so that you can accurately report symptoms, side effects, etc. to your healthcare team.  Don’t be afraid to keep a notebook of your health history so that you can refer back to if needed.

About Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers

Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers (ICRC) is the largest multi-specialty oncology network in the Greater Metro Phoenix area. They have over 100 medical providers, a robust Integrative Services program and a dedicated clinical research department. Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers has 15 valley locations and five comprehensive cancer care centers that offer a multi-disciplinary approach for expedited personalized patient care. For more information, please visit