ASCO called for new actions to reduce disparities in cancer outcomes affecting racial and ethnic minorities, rural populations, sexual and gender minorities, people without insurance, and other disadvantaged populations. In a policy statement published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO), ASCO argues that while progress has been made in raising awareness of disparities and driving research, the cancer community needs to take bolder, more aggressive steps to achieve equity for all patients.
The policy statement makes a series of recommendations to ensure equitable access to care and research to guide both ASCO’s own programs and the work of the broader oncology community. The ASCO board–approved statement was developed by the Health Equity Committee, consisting of ASCO members with specific expertise in cancer care disparities.
Lori J. Pierce, MD, FASTRO, FASCO
“To do right by the patients we serve, we have to confront the complex forces and systems that have created disparities in cancer prevention, treatment, and research participation,” said ASCO President Lori J. Pierce, MD, FASTRO, FASCO, author of an accompanying editorial in JCO. “Our field has taken important steps in recent years. Now it’s time to dig deeper, take new risks, and do everything we can to ensure that every patient benefits from decades of advances in cancer care.”
ASCO is committed to advancing the statement’s recommendations in all areas of its work. To that end, the ASCO Health Equity Committee is developing a concrete action plan that the Society will pursue in the coming years, with particular emphasis on increasing workforce diversity, building partnerships with communities affected by disparities, and addressing institutional discrimination in the oncology field.
Read the full text of “Cancer Disparities and Health Equity: A Policy Statement From the American Society of Clinical Oncology” and Dr. Pierce’s accompanying editorial “A Time to Dig Deeper and Take Meaningful Action” at ascopubs.org/journal/jco.
Additional policy and advocacy updates are available on ASCO in Action.
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