The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) released its inaugural Cancer Disparities Progress Report 2020, which found that while overall cancer death rates are declining and the number of survivors is reaching record highs, progress against cancer is not benefiting everyone equally, with racial and ethnic minorities shouldering a disproportionate burden of cancer.
According to the report, African Americans have had the highest overall cancer death rate of any racial or ethnic group in the United States for more than 4 decades—the result of complex factors, many of which are directly influenced by structural and systemic racism. Achieving oncology workforce diversity and developing science-based public policies that advance cancer prevention and early detection strategies will help overcome cancer health disparities.
John D. Carpten, PhD
In a statement commenting on the development of the Cancer Disparities Progress Report 2020, John D. Carpten, PhD, Chair of both the report and the AACR Minorities in Cancer Research Council, and Professor and Chair of Translational Genomics and Director of the Institute of Translational Genomics at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, said:
This inaugural and historic progress report will provide the world with a comprehensive baseline understanding of our progress toward recognizing and eliminating cancer health disparities from the standpoint of biologic factors, clinical management, population science, public policy, and workforce diversity. This monumental report represents the collective effort of a number of the world’s foremost thought leaders in cancer health disparities research. It highlights progress, but it also initiates a vitally important call to action for all stakeholders to make advances toward the mitigation of cancer disparities for racial and ethnic minorities and other underserved populations.
Highlights of the Report
Highlights from the report’s findings include:
A Call to Action
To help improve health equity for all patients with cancer, the AACR report calls on policymakers and all stakeholders to eradicate social injustices that are barriers to that goal, including:
“These efforts must be coupled with action to eradicate the social injustices that are barriers to health equity, which is one of our most basic human rights. This is why the AACR stands in solidarity in the fight against racism, privilege, and discrimination in all aspects of life and actively supports policies that guarantee equitable access to quality health care to eradicate all barriers to achieving the bold vision of health equity,” concluded the report.
To read the full report, visit cancerprogressreport.aacr.org.