(NAPSMI)—Overall, cancer deaths in America have fallen in the last several decades, but not everyone has benefited equally from advances in cancer prevention, detection and treatment. Black people have the highest death rate and shortest survival of any racial and ethnic group in the US for most forms cancer. Additionally, FDA data show that only 4 percent of cancer clinical trial participants are Black.
Meeting The Need
That’s why Stand Up To Cancer® (SU2C), a major funder of cancer research, created its Health Equity Initiative. The initiative aims to increase minority representation in cancer clinical trials and ensure new cancer treatments are effective for all.
“As one of the leading funders of cancer research, we believe it is our duty to ensure that minority representation in cancer clinical trials is addressed. Now, more than ever, better understanding of the role of biology in cancer treatment, advances in precision treatment, and development of new technologies demands that we also make significant improvements in diverse clinical trial participation,” explained SU2C CEO Sung Poblete, PhD, RN.
What’s Being Done
SU2C is collaborating with a number of industry leaders who are also committed to improving cancer disparities, including Genentech, Exact Sciences, Bristol Myers Squibb and Amgen. Funding from these donors supports SU2C’s Health Equity Initiative, including cancer screening and clinical trial awareness efforts as well as research into specific types of cancers that disproportionately impact people of color. Another collaboration with the Black Women’s Health Imperative and Friends of Cancer Research is Project TEACH, which will empower Black women to effectively engage with researchers and clinicians as well as increase participation of Black women in cancer-focused clinical trials. Project TEACH is supported by the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute.
“Ensuring that patients of color have the same access to screening, testing and treatment, including clinical trials, is critical to addressing some of the longstanding inequities we’ve seen in cancer care,” said Karen Winkfield, MD, PhD, Executive Director of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance and member of SU2C’s Health Equity Committee. “We also must focus on community engagement to help patients learn and understand their options; Stand Up To Cancer’s Health Equity Initiative is working on both fronts to improve cancer care for all.”
A National Imperative
Improving cancer health equity is a national imperative that cannot be overlooked. Through its Health Equity Initiative, Stand Up to Cancer hopes to spur a conversation throughout the healthcare continuum to encourage tangible steps that improve health equity across the board.
For further facts and stats about Stand Up To Cancer, go to www.StandUpToCancer.org.