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October 11, 2017
Scientists aim to address racial and ethnic disparities in cancer research

It is a medical puzzle: Why are death rates for black men with prostate cancer almost 2.5 times the rate of white men in the United States?

Part of the reason is unequal access to health care.

But even that doesn’t fully explain the disparity, said Timothy Rebbeck, a professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“It’s very clear you can minimize that difference or that disparity if you can get black and white men to have equal access to care, early intervention, and screening, but the effects don’t seem to entirely go away,” Rebbeck said Wednesday at a discussion of cancer disparities held at the UMass Club in Boston. Therefore, “there are probably biological differences that lead to more aggressive cancers in men of African descent in general.”

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