Although the United States has made major strides in cancer research, treatment, and outcomes, not all individuals have benefited from this success. Since its founding more than 50 years ago, ASCO has been committed to advancing health equity in cancer care.
Most recently, ASCO issued its Health Equity Policy Statement calling for bolder, more aggressive steps to achieve equity for all individuals with cancer. The ASCO statement serves as a blueprint for the Society’s activities to ensure that all patients, no matter who they are or where they live, can receive the highest quality cancer care.
ASCO invites all stakeholders in the cancer care community to work toward achieving health equity in cancer research and care. Below is a wide range of resources to help ASCO members and the larger cancer community better understand and address health equity issues in cancer care. Please continue to check back on this page for the latest updates on this initiative.
Diversity in Oncology Workforce Initiative
Increasing the diversity of healthcare providers is essential to ensure high-quality cancer care is delivered to every person. ASCO has developed a range of educational programs, including mentoring and other educational initiatives, to get closer to an oncology workforce that reflects the demographics of the US population it serves. Learn more.
Policy and Position Statements
ASCO has developed an extensive portfolio of policy and position statements focused on equity in cancer care in research. Statements include:
- Improving Diversity in Clinical Trial Participation (October 2020)
- Cancer Disparities and Health Equity (August 2020)
- Strategies for Reducing Cancer Health Disparities Among Sexual and Gender Minority Populations (April 2017)
- AACR, ACS, ASCO, and NCI Joint Statement on Cancer Health Disparities (July 2017)
- Improving the Evidence Base for Treating Older Adults With Cancer (July 2015)
- Opportunities in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to Reduce Cancer Care Disparities (August 2011)
- Disparities in Cancer Care (June 2009)
Resources, Education & Outreach
ASCO has developed resources and participated in a variety of educational programs to help the cancer community better understand existing barriers to health equity and discuss opportunities to address them.
- Educational Series about Social Determinants of Health: ASCO launched a new educational series focused on social determinants of health and their role in cancer care and outcomes.
- Stand Up 2 Cancer Webcast: ASCO President Lori Pierce joined Stand Up 2 Cancer for a live social media event focused on the work ASCO & Stand Up 2 Cancer are doing to increase diversity in cancer research and treatment.
- Atlantic Webcast: People v. Cancer Equity in Care: At a virtual event hosted by the Atlantic about equity in cancer care, Dr. Pierce spoke about increasing equity in clinical trials.
- Editorial: The Path to Health Equity Starts with Access to Care (Page 16): Dr. Pierce co-authored an op-ed with President of ACS-CAN, Lisa Lacasse, about addressing equity by increasing access to care.
- ASCO e-Learning collection on Cultural Competency for Oncology Practice
Equity Cancer Research
Below are recent studies, articles, and research initiative focused health equities in cancer care.
- 2020 Snapshot: State of the Oncology Workforce in America
- Closing the Rural Cancer Care Gap: Three Institutional Approaches
- ASCO-ACCC Initiative to Increase Participation of Racial and Ethnic Minority Populations in Cancer Treatment Trials
- 2020 Annual Meeting Health Disparities Abstracts
- 2020 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium Disparities Abstracts
- 2020 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium Disparities Abstracts
- 2018 Quality Care Symposium: Understanding and Addressing Disparities in Cancer Care
ASCO has launched a survey to help us better understand member awareness and perceptions about health equity in cancer care. All domestic members are encouraged to participate by January 15, 2021.
Achieving equity in cancer research and care will require all stakeholders in the cancer community to do their part. More opportunities to get involved are coming in the near future. Stay tuned!