Lack of access to care and socioeconomic factors are linked to advanced head and neck cancer in Alabama’s Black Belt, so labeled because of its rich black soil and once thriving agricultural trade. The region is now a target of efforts to enhance early identification and treatment for head and neck cancer.
Now known for its massive poverty (nearly one in three residents live below the poverty level), lack of education (more than 40 percent of adults have not completed high school), and low number of primary care physicians and dentists (health care providers who screen for and detect head and neck cancer), the seventeen counties that make up this region are among the most affected by head and neck cancer in the state. If diagnosed early, head and neck cancer is highly treatable. But once the disease reaches advanced stages, treatment is often disabling, disfiguring and, unfortunately, unsuccessful.
The results of “Head and Neck Cancer Demographics in Alabama” will be presented by authors, William Carroll, MD, Eben Rosenthal, MD, Brooke Wilkerson, BA, Chris Baranano, MD, Scott Magnuson MD, and Glenn Peters, MD, all of the University of Alabama-Birmingham, at the 6th International Conference on Head and Neck Cancer (http://www.sic2004.org) being held August 7-11, 2004, at the Wardman Park Marriott, in Washington, D.C.
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