Cancer Epidemiology in American Romanies

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Arani, Naszrin

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Romanies are one of history’s most misunderstood ethnic populations. Since medieval times, they have faced slavery, forced assimilation, sterilization, genocide, and other forms of ethnic cleansing. Their cultural and historical persecution has led to adverse health outcomes. Studies on health inequality among Romanies have been conducted in the past, as well as fragmented research on their genetic predisposition to disease; however, there is a gap in available information regarding precancerous health risks, especially at the upstream, social end of the spectrum. Thus, their oppression is largely unacknowledged. This holds true in the United States where their numbers are far smaller than the majority who live in Eastern Europe. Ignorance of their history and culture breeds stigma, erecting a barrier to positive health outcomes for Romani-Americans. The primary objective of this study is to analyze the biological, cultural, and socioeconomic factors leading to cancer and other chronic disease in Romani-Americans through a review of the existing literature. I point out the most prominent causes of chronic disease as a proxy to cancer in Romani-Americans; I also hope to draw attention to the lack of research in the field and inspire others to pursue such research.


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