Geographic Information Systems and Rural Cancer Disparities

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Secretary Tommy Thompson of the United States Department of Health and Human Services recently announced the availability of $46 million in funding to improve health care for rural residents. One of the department's new actions will include the use of geographic information systems (GIS) to identify the Health and Human Services' investments in specific communities and populations and to identify communities with unmet needs. This article describes how GIS can be used to identify racial and ethnic cancer disparities for selected cancers in rural counties in Texas and demonstrates its application in guiding the development of strategies for improving the distribution of cancer screening and treatment services in rural areas.

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