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The Cancer Gap


Not all groups are benefitting from advances in colon cancer screening, diagnosis, and treatment, says The New York Times' Well blog. Highlighting that is a new report in The Journal of Clinical Oncology, which found that while colorectal cancer mortality rates have declined for both black and white patients, that decrease was smaller for blacks. "Blacks are more likely to have their cancers detected at a later stage," says American Cancer Society's Anthony Robbins, the study's lead author. "And then no matter which stage it's detected at, their survival is lower. This disparity in the stage at diagnosis is getting worse over time, and it's driving these death rates apart."

In an editorial accompanying the ASCO report, Ohio State University's Electra Paskett says a concerted effort must be made to lessen that gap. She says that universal coverage for colorectal cancer screening could help address both the screening gap and the mortality gap.

At the Well blog, John Kauh, an oncologist at Grady Memorial Hospital, adds that better screening will help address, but won't solve the issue. "To me, a lot of this has to do with socioeconomic issues that can't be quickly turned around," he says. "If you don't have access to good health care, no matter how much education you provide patients, it's going to be hard to make an overall difference in survival."

The Scan

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.