Abstract: The Appalachian area of Kentucky is marred by economic depravity and a lack of specialized oncological infrastructure and is, thus, home to the worst cancer incidence and mortality in the United States. Women in the region confront unique barriers to receiving adequate cancer care, engendering elevated rates and/or worse outcomes for breast, cervical, ovarian, and uterine cancers. Consequently, this study utilized a review of the literature to explain the epidemiological as well as the sociological factors that contribute to these disparities as well as to discuss public health solutions that were implemented and disseminated within the past couple decades. Additionally, this study attempted to recruit interest into filling a gap in the knowledge regarding whether health literacy is a major factor of these disparities through a survey of Eastern Kentucky University undergraduate students. The literature review displayed the complexity of these disparities and how they are strongly linked to the plunder of the region by resource extraction as well as social pressures inherent to the culture, and the survey revealed that the college population may benefit from cancer education and that their greatest barriers to cancer care are health literacy, low family income, and poor access to healthcare. As a result, future cancer programs should maintain the style of offering cancer education and screening at little to no cost as well as respect women’s unique needs, their autonomy, and that what they suffer through is the product of extrinsic factors that mar our society at large.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 2023


Lindsay E. Cormier

Mentor Department Affiliation

Biological Sciences

Access Options

Closed Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Biological Sciences

IRB Approval Number (if applicable)