In spite of the fact that statistics show that childhood cancer is rare, it still ranks as the second leading cause of death among children ages 1 to 14 — second only to accidents. While the risk of developing cancer in Hispanic children is relatively lower than that in non-Hispanic white children, recent research shows that Hispanic children have lower survival rates 5 years after diagnosis.
The UT Health Science Center San Antonio’s pediatric oncologists have just announced that they will be leading a union of local institutions in a series of studies and clinical trials on childhood cancer. They will be operating on a generous $3.7 million research grant from the National Cancer Institute‘s Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP).
According to the US Census Bureau, Hispanics now form the country’s largest minority group, with a population of over 54 million as of 2013. In 2050, the bureau expects their number to be roughly 133 million, which is 30% of the total population. Houston, Texas ranks among the top 10 American cities with the most number of Hispanics, which is why NCORP has classified it as one of the country’s 12 underserved community sites, and is now the only NCORP-designated site in the state.
Gail Tomlinson, M.D., Ph.D. from UTHSCSA’s Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute agrees that for the institution and the rest of the locality to meet global standards for cancer care, minority groups such as Hispanics need to be given adequate attention in research and development. This effort must also be seen on a national level, not just for the benefit of the majority, but for the benefit of all.
In related news, earlier this month, Hyundai Motors America announced a donation worth $250,000 under a “Hope Grant” in support of pediatric cancer research initiatives at the UT Health Science Center’s School of Medicine.