PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA [February 4, 2022] —World Cancer Day is observed every February 4. This year, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) is joining organizations worldwide to draw attention to widespread inequities in cancer care and work to address them. “Close the care gap” is the theme for the new three-year campaign led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to promote greater equity in health care for all populations.
“Who you are or where you live should not determine how long you live,” said Robert W. Carlson, MD, Chief Executive Officer, NCCN. “Yet, we know disparities in cancer care and outcomes exist between the United States and other countries, and within the U.S. itself between different races/ethnicities, socioeconomic groups, sexual orientations, gender identities, regions, and more. Today and every day we must uncover and address the significant barriers that prevent too many people from receiving high-quality cancer care.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) previously announced a global strategy for eliminating cervical cancer as part of World Cancer Day activities. According to UICC, the five-year survival rate for cervical cancer is 71% for White women in the U.S., but only 58% for Black women. More than 90% of cervical cancer mortality occurs in low- and middle-income countries. Childhood cancer survival rates reach more than 80% in high-income countries but can be as low as 20% in low-income countries. Notable differences exist in cancer-related outcomes for rural and nonrural patients, even in high-income countries such as the U.S.
Dr. Cary Adams, CEO of UICC, says: “As individuals, as communities, we can and must come together and break down barriers. We have achieved a lot in the last decade in cancer care and control around the world but not addressing inequities in society is slowing our progress. Closing the care gap is about fairness, dignity, and fundamental rights to allow everyone to lead longer lives in better health.”
The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) can be a resource providing guardrails to standardize best available quality in cancer care and prevent inappropriate or inadequate management. Numerous independent studies show that standardized care improves outcomes, but is not always applied equally to all patient groups. More on this can be found at NCCN.org/wcd.
Additionally, NCCN continues to pursue urgent work to address cancer disparities, including the following initiatives:
- Hosting a plenary session on Equity of Cancer Care at the upcoming virtual NCCN 2022 Annual Conference, March 31-April 2. Experts will discuss best practices for providing equitable cancer care to sexual, gender, and racial minority patients. Speakers will address the latest policy initiatives focused on improving health equity, and representatives from leading cancer centers will share successful programs they have implemented to engage underserved communities. Learn more and register at NCCN.org/conference.
- Joining with leading health and cancer advocacy groups to convene the Elevating Cancer Equity Working Group in January of 2021, piloting the Health Equity Report Card (HERC), and advocating for policies to reduce racial disparities in cancer care within the U.S.
- Sharing the latest peer-reviewed research and commentary on cancer care inequities in JNCCN—Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network at JNCCN.org.
- Providing funding and oversight for new research to measure existing disparities and share successful approaches for overcoming them, via the NCCN Oncology Research Program, NCCN.org/orp.
- Hosting annual NCCN Patient Advocacy Summits, with 2022 summit to focus on best practices and policies for addressing the health needs of LGBT+ cancer patients and survivors.
- Developing global Harmonizations, Adaptations, and Translations of the NCCN Guidelines that are customized for unique regional needs and resource levels in collaboration with in-country thought leaders, available at NCCN.org/global.
- Providing resources and translations for patients and caregivers to start a conversation with their doctors about how to get the best care for their unique set of circumstances, available at NCCN.org/patientresources.
Given the global need to address care disparities in cervical cancer, NCCN recently published new NCCN Guidelines for Patients®: Cervical Cancer. This new patient guideline from NCCN addresses how increasing vaccination against human papilloma virus (HPV) and enhancing access to screening and early detection worldwide can dramatically reduce incidence and death from cervical cancer. This free patient guideline from NCCN was partially funded through past World Cancer Day campaigns.
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About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) is a not-for-profit alliance of leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education. NCCN is dedicated to improving and facilitating quality, effective, equitable, and accessible cancer care so all patients can live better lives. The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) provide transparent, evidence-based, expert consensus recommendations for cancer treatment, prevention, and supportive services; they are the recognized standard for clinical direction and policy in cancer management and the most thorough and frequently-updated clinical practice guidelines available in any area of medicine. The NCCN Guidelines for Patients® provide expert cancer treatment information to inform and empower patients and caregivers, through support from the NCCN Foundation®. NCCN also advances continuing education, global initiatives, policy, and research collaboration and publication in oncology. Visit NCCN.org for more information and follow NCCN on Facebook @NCCNorg, Instagram @NCCNorg, and Twitter @NCCN.
About World Cancer Day
World Cancer Day takes place every year on 4th February and is the uniting global initiative under which the world comes together to raise the profile of cancer in a positive and inspiring way. Spearheaded by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), the day aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and improving education about the disease while calling for action from governments and individuals across the world. Learn more at WorldCancerDay.org.