The mortality rate for prostate cancer is twice as high for African American men as it is for white men. The mortality rate for breast cancer is 1.35 times higher for African American women than for white women. Because of these discrepancies, reported by the National Center for Health Statistics, review panels that make cancer research funding decisions should include more African Americans, contend minority cancer advocates.

"Without representation, there's not going to be funding," says W. Bedford Waters, chairman of the urology section of the National Medical Association, a Washington, D.C.-based professional organization for African American physicians. And without funding, science lacks the firepower to ask questions about the cause of the discrepancies, maintains Waters, a professor and associate director of urology at Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago. "Is it genetic? is it environmental? Is it dietary?" he asks.

Those unanswered questions prompted the American Cancer Society's (ACS's)...

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