Posted on April 01, 2017
Cancer affects all population groups in the United States. Some racial and ethnic minorities bear a disproportionate burden of cancer, compared with whites. The DCEG research portfolio includes a broad range of studies designed to identify populations that experience elevated incidence or mortality from cancer and uncover the factors contributing to disparities in risk. Ultimately, this research contributes to the basis for the development of targeted preventive measures in high-risk populations.
Our understanding of the range and complexity of health disparities has evolved as a result of descriptive epidemiologic research. Studies of cancer across race, ethnicity, geographic area, urban/rural residence, socioeconomic status, and trends over time have provided important clues to the role of lifestyle, environmental, and genetic factors that affect cancer risk.
DCEG investigators conduct descriptive analysis of cancer rates and trends using population-based registries such as SEER. Another important tool is the NCI Geoviewer, which allows scientists to characterize the geographic distribution of cancer as well as differences by race and ethnicity. In recent years, DCEG biostatisticians have developed more sophisticated statistical methods, such as the Age-Period-Cohort tool, to analyze the complex, interrelated effects of age, time period, and birth cohort on incidence trends within the U.S. population.
Descriptive epidemiological studies provide valuable information for the prevention of disease, design of interventions, and conduct of additional research among minority populations.