February 3, 2022
World Cancer Day is observed Friday, Feb. 4.
Union for International Cancer Control created World Cancer Day in 2000 to educate the public about the signs and symptoms of cancer to ensure early detection and treatment, encourage elected representatives to commit ample resources to reduce cancer mortality, and increase awareness that lifestyle behaviors can have a considerable effect on cancer risk.
The theme of this year’s observance — “Close the Care Gap” — is intended to increase awareness about inequities in cancer care. This is the first year of a 3-year campaign designed to highlight barriers related to socioeconomic factors, stigma and discrimination that prevent many people from around the world from accessing potentially life-saving preventive services, screening, treatment and care.
“By 2030, it is estimated that 75% of all premature deaths due to cancer will occur in low- and middle-income countries,” Anil d’Cruz, MS, DNB, FRCS (Hon), president of Union for International Cancer Control and director of oncology at Apollo Hospitals in India, said in a press release. “Importantly, this care gap is not only between high- and low-resource settings. Disparities exist within most countries among different populations due to discrimination or assumptions that encompass age, cultural contexts, gender norms, sexual orientation, ethnicity, income, education levels and lifestyle issues. These factors potentially reduce a person’s chance of surviving cancer — and they can and must be addressed.”
In conjunction with World Cancer Day, Healio presents the following updates that provide insights into inequities in care and potential strategies that could be implemented to address them.
Racial disparities in cancer clinical trials are “an old problem with new implications,” Leah L. Zullig, PhD, MPH, associate professor in the department of population health sciences at Duke University Medical Center, told Healio. This cover story explores how lack of racial and ethnic minority representation in trials can compromise data and perpetuate disparities in outcomes, as well as unique strategies designed to increase diversity in cancer trials. Read more.
There is a “black hole” in the oncology community’s understanding of health equity as it relates to sexual and gender minorities, Don S. Dizon, MD, FACP, FASCO, professor of medicine at Brown University, told Healio. In this cover story, Healio spoke with Dizon and other oncology specialists about risk factors about risk factors for cancer and bar