The impact of pancreatic cancer on minority groups
Pancreatic cancer will affect more than 56,000 adults in the United States this year. Of these individuals diagnosed, incidence rates are 25% for higher for black patients compared to others. On the other end of the spectrum, according to the National Cancer Database, the Latino population tends to have better outcomes than both black and white patients in regards to this disease.
Research has been done that normalizes socioeconomic factors, and the outcomes indicate that biological differences likely affect minority groups’ susceptibility to pancreatic cancer. This remains a significant disparity in pancreatic cancer patients, and UF Health physicians are committed to research that can lead to development in treatment options to help bridge this gap.
In 2018, the National Cancer Institute awarded a five-year, $16 million grant to the University of Florida to establish a cancer health equity center committed to cancer research focused on minority patients.
Jose Trevino, M.D., is an assistant professor in the UF College of Medicine’s department of surgery and leads research within the center. Through his work, he looks at differences in outcomes, genetics, muscle physiology, tumor biology and other translatable factors that affect an individual’s pancreatic cancer treatment to reduce disparities in the efficacy.
With pancreatic cancer treatment, the personalization of care is critical. With continued commitment to research focused complexities and factors regarding racial disparities, UF Health is taking steps to develop new ways to best battle this disease.
“Hopefully one day, we will look at ancestry as a marker for possible therapeutics, and we can use this data to determine different therapies,” Trevino said.