UVA Study - Cancer on Rise in Appalachia
Richmond, VA — Rural Appalachia is in the midst of a cancer crisis according to a University of Virginia School of Medicine study. Published in September’s issue of the Journal of Rural Health, researchers Nengliang Yao and others found that rural Appalachia is the only region in the United States to have seen an increase in cancer diagnoses from 1969 – 2011.
Similarly, during that time the region catapulted from having the country’s lowest rate of cancer death to the highest. Of all the states in the region, Kentucky seems to be the most heavily effected, as mortality rates were 36 percent higher in the rural Appalachian areas of the state than in the rest of the country.
In hypothesizing the causes, Yao believes there to be many economic, geographic and political factors.
In an interview with the University of Virginia Yao mentioned that the geographic inconvenience of being in such a rural area increases travel times to care facilities, and in such impoverished areas, limited transportation options are available, making it next to impossible to get necessary care.
He also cited the people’s self-sufficiency as a detriment when it comes to cancer treatment and mortality rates. The self-sufficient tend to not use the health care system as much and as a result tend not to get attention from policymakers.
The researchers believe these problems can be solved, stressing the need for policy change. “Rural Appalachians are faced with poorer cancer-related health outcomes across the continuum of cancer care,“ they said. “A systematic effort is needed to reduce the burden of cancer for rural Appalachia.” Continue>
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