Health Disparities – Why Cancer Screening Still Isn’t Accessible

Eugene E. Houchins III is the founder of American Life Fund, a life insurance policy consulting firm. In Eugene E. Houchins III’s line of work, cancer and its prevention are frequently discussed as the disease is the second most common cause of death in the United States.

In the fight against cancer, early cancer screenings are an important tool. Cancer caught early can be dealt with much more easily, especially if the cancer is malignant or actively growing and infecting more healthy cells. However, the accessibility of these screenings, which can include cancer education, is not evenly distributed across the country, leaving certain populations more vulnerable to the disease than others.

These barriers to better health include, but are not limited to being in a racial minority group (Black, Asian, etc.), living in a rural area, having a low income, or not having insurance. These barriers, often called health disparities, have a compounding effect that makes them more obstructive when combined.

These disparities can be explained by examining the cost of these screenings and the availability (or lack thereof) of information on them. For example, living in a rural area means less likelihood of cancer screening being advertised to you or accessible in your area. Having a low income or poor insurance also can discourage a person from attending a cancer screening, as even if the screening is free, it might be too expensive to take time off work to attend.