WASHINGTON, DC - October 17, 2018 – The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) released a publication today to illustrate health disparities across the cancer continuum and discuss public policy strategies to address those disparities. Cancer Disparities: A Chartbook illustrates the scope of cancer disparities that exist in the United States, including cancer incidence, mortality and survival; access to insurance coverage; screening and early detection; and behaviors that may increase cancer risk.
“Despite notable advances in cancer prevention, screening and treatment, not all communities are benefitting equally from this important progress,” said Chris Hansen, ACS CAN president. “The consequence of such disparities is that cancer is more often diagnosed at later stages when options for treatment, as well as odds for survival, may be decreased.”
The report includes more than 100 charts and maps detailing the extent of disparities across different populations, including data that show that although non-Hispanic White (NHW) females have higher incidence rates for breast cancer, non-Hispanic black (NHB) females have higher mortality rates than NHW females.
The chartbook also illustrates how ACS CAN is actively pursuing evidence-based public policies at the local, state and federal levels that aim to reduce disparities and improve health outcomes for all U.S. population groups. It highlights some of the greatest gaps and challenges, which will further guide ACS CAN in its public policy work.
In order to address gaps in health outcomes, a multi-prong approach must include enhanced prevention and early detection, increased access to coverage and treatment across all populations; and delivery of care in a culturally and linguistically competent manner. Continued research – particularly on ways to collect disparities data, implement public health interventions, and better prevent, detect, and cure many cancers that disproportionately affect medically underserved populations – is also critical.
“It is essential that we find ways to ensure that all U.S. population groups have equitable access to quality cancer care and equal opportunity to live a healthy life,” Hansen said. “Our ability to continue to make progress against this disease relies heavily on eliminating the inequities that exist in cancer care.”
The chartbook includes data on the following six racial/ethnic groups: White, Black, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, American Indian and Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. The information is provided where available by race/ethnicity, geographic location, sex, sexual orientation and multiple socioeconomic economic status factors, including income, education and occupation.
ACS CAN will use this chartbook with state and federal policymakers to illustrate the level of health inequities that continue to exist across the cancer continuum and to highlight public policies that can help to address the disparate burden.
For a link to the chartbook, visit: https://www.fightcancer.org/disparitieschartbook.