Bettina Drake, PhD, MPH

A focus on cancer disparities

Bettina Drake, PhD, MPH, discusses cancer prevention at a health fair in East St. Louis.

One of the best ways to fight cancer is to stop it before it starts, and, failing that, make sure everyone has access to the best possible care. Siteman Cancer Center is working with the community in and around St. Louis to improve prevention and screening programs and to reduce cancer care disparities.

At the forefront of these efforts is Bettina Drake, PhD, MPH, associate director of cancer health equity for Siteman Cancer Center.

Drake, an associate professor of surgery in the Division of Public Health Sciences, began researching prostate cancer as a doctoral student at the University of South Carolina, in a state where African-American men are almost three times more likely to die of prostate cancer than white men — often due to missed diagnoses. The survival rate for prostate cancer, if caught early, is normally 95-100 percent.

Soon after her father was diagnosed with prostate cancer, Drake got involved in community outreach with area churches, providing educational materials about prevention and screening for those at risk of getting cancer. “The combination of my outreach experiences and my father’s diagnosis fueled my interest and passion in disparities research,” said Drake.

Read the full article in Outlook Magazine »

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