On June 4, 2020, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) released this statement:
[AACR] is outraged and saddened about the pervasive racism and social injustices toward African Americans in our country and all people of color around the world. As a scientific organization focused on the conquest of cancer whose core values include equality, diversity, and inclusion, we stand in solidarity in denouncing the recent tragic deaths of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Sean Reed, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others before them whose lives have been taken because of racism. Along with our AACR members, patient advocates, patients with cancer and cancer survivors, staff members, and all others around the world, we wish to voice our anguish and deep frustration with the systemic injustices that have led to significant social and health inequities among racial and ethnic minorities. We deplore discrimination, racism, and racial injustice in any form, including the long-standing disenfranchisement of black communities.
Racial and ethnic minorities in the United States and around the world continue to experience health-care inequities, including a disproportionate burden of cancer. As a glaring example, African Americans have the highest overall cancer mortality rates compared to all other racial or ethnic groups in the United States. These stark health inequities have drawn renewed attention and concern in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has also disproportionately impacted communities of color. For example, African Americans account for 13% of the U.S. population but about 23% of the deaths from the novel coronavirus.
Research is driving tremendous progress against cancer and other human diseases, but the grim reality is these advances have not benefited everyone equally. Progress has come too slowly for people of color, and the monumental cost of health disparities in terms of health-care inequities, premature deaths, and the impact on communities must be immediately addressed.
The AACR will continue to actively promote high-quality, impactful science and policies that are focused on eliminating cancer disparities in racial and ethnic minorities. To accomplish this vitally important goal, we will continue to foster advances against cancer and COVID-19 disparities through our state-of-the-art conferences and scientific journals and publications. Further, we will champion the work of minority and other researchers, physicians, and advocates who are working tirelessly to eradicate health disparities and to prevent and cure cancer in all populations.
The AACR is deeply committed to realizing the vision of social justice and equality for all black and other racial and ethnic minorities, both nationally and globally. We stand in solidarity against racial discrimination and inequality and will work with our diverse membership to help create a world that achieves equity, unity, and justice for all.