“If I hadn’t been involved in breast cancer research, my sister might be dead today. That’s why it’s important to have a cancer center that understands that women from different backgrounds have different treatment needs. Our community needs us, right now.”
Over a decade ago, Loma Linda University Health founded the Center for Health Disparities and Molecular Medicine (CHDMM). The center was our response to the intense health disparities that plague our region even to this day. The CHDMM is recognized as a Center of Excellence in Health Disparities and Minority Health by the National Institutes of Health.
The Cancer Health Disparities Research Program builds upon the foundation created by the CHDMM. The program focuses on cancer health disparities affecting minority groups in Southern California. Our researchers both serve and reflect the diverse population in this vast region.
We find ourselves in the heart of an area deeply affected by disparities. The people our hospitals serve are part of communities that face some of the nation’s worst socioeconomic challenges. We are called to identify and break down barriers to improve minority cancer patient outcomes here and everywhere.
The primary goals of the Cancer Health Disparities Research Program are to:
- Increase awareness and treatment capabilities for minority patients locally
- Influence research and best practices nationally
- Improve patient outcomes globally
Loma Linda University Cancer Center is uniquely positioned to perform research and provide care for a diverse population. By focusing on our community’s challenges in a world-class research setting, we can illuminate disparities on a national level. In turn, we hope to improve cancer outcomes around the world.
Research into Breast Cancer Health Disparities
Black women are more likely to die from breast cancer than white women. While socioeconomic factors like healthcare access and treatment delays play a key role, survival disparities for Black women remain a problem when normalized for such factors.
Dr. Daisy De León and her team have received federal and foundation grants for research into reducing breast cancer mortality in Black women. The team is studying:
- The role of the IGF2 protein in breast cancer survival
- How IGF2 is expressed differently between Black and white women to promote a more aggressive disease
- How we can leverage these differences to impact patient treatment