The CDC says the rural death rate could be higher because people don't have access to health care services, or if they do have access, don't get screened, or wait until too late to get screened. The keys are getting people screened and getting them access to treatment, Dr. Electra Paskett, co-leader of the cancer control research program at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, told Ann Pietrangelo of Healthline.
The CDC researchers' suggestions for reducing rural cancer incidence and death include promoting healthy behaviors and increasing screenings and vaccinations. Government must get involved too, they say. States need to participate in comprehensive cancer-control programs and work with local governments, researchers, health-care providers and advocates to enact better health policies.
Paskett worries that as some people or regions gain better access to health care, others will be left behind. She told Healthline that urban Chicago, which has also suffered from a lack of access to health care, is a good example of such coordination. "Chicago reduced disparity significantly. There’s still work to do but you can see that what they’re doing is working. We need buy-in from the top governors’ offices and state legislators. That’s what has to happen. When you have a whole city or state working on this problem together, you have an impact on disparities." (Read more)