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UCSD, SDSU Collaboration To Reduce Cancer Among Latinos Gets $13M

Photo credit: UC San Diego News Center

UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center is pictured in this undated photo.

A collaboration between San Diego State University and UC San Diego to reduce cancer among Latinos received a five-year, $13 million infusion from the National Cancer Institute, the schools announced Monday.

The seven-year-old partnership between SDSU and the UCSD Moores Cancer Center seeks to improve outcomes for Hispanic cancer patients in San Diego and Imperial counties.

According to UCSD, Hispanics tend to be more vulnerable to certain types of leukemia and cancers associated with infection, such as liver, stomach and cervical.

Hispanics are less likely than non-Hispanic whites to develop the most common forms of cancers, such as breast, colon and prostate. But when they are diagnosed, they're more likely to be in an advanced stage because they're screened less often than average, according to UCSD. They're also at a higher risk of dying after the diagnosis.

"There are needs not being addressed in cancer education, prevention and care among Hispanics," said Maria Elena Martinez, a UCSD School of Medicine professor of family medicine and public health.

"This partnership helps to reduce disparities by taking a comprehensive approach with the help of 29 community partners representing stakeholders in the Hispanic community in San Diego and Imperial counties," she said.

The National Cancer Institute grant, one of a dozen issued around the U.S., will support 30 joint research projects, research education programs for undergraduate students of underrepresented racial and ethnic groups who are studying cancer and cancer disparities, as well as collaborations with community partners, researchers and students.

"The grant will build on existing community partnerships and link SDSU and UC San Diego with new community organizations," said Elva Arredondo, an SDSU associate professor in the Graduate School of Public Health. "These efforts will help address cancer disparities evident among racial (and) ethnic groups, including Hispanic communities."

The collaboration includes a research partnership with San Ysidro Health Centers and a community outreach program with Family Health Centers of San Diego. The two organizations serve the region's low-income residents.

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