The American Cancer Society (ACS) and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) have jointly unveiled the “Change the Odds: Uniting to Improve Cancer Outcomes™” initiative, a three-year program aimed at addressing disparities in cancer care. With $15 million in funding from Pfizer, the initiative seeks to enhance health outcomes in medically underrepresented communities across the United States by increasing awareness of and access to cancer screenings, clinical trial opportunities, and comprehensive patient support and navigation. Initially concentrating on breast and prostate cancer in underserved communities, the initiative may extend its focus to other cancer types. ACS intends to collaborate with additional partners to broaden programmatic activities, reaching more individuals and making a meaningful impact in select communities.
“Cancer doesn’t discriminate – and neither should cancer care,” emphasized Chris Boshoff, Chief Oncology Officer and Executive Vice President at Pfizer. He expressed pride in partnering with the American Cancer Society to create a broad, community-focused initiative, aiming to provide equitable access to the latest advances in care for people regardless of their background or location.
Breast and prostate cancer are the most frequently diagnosed cancers among women and men in the United States, respectively. Incidence rates for both cancers are on the rise nationwide, with certain races and ethnicities experiencing a more significant impact, particularly in urban areas. Additionally, individuals in rural areas face barriers to cancer screening and quality care, resulting in higher mortality rates. Social isolation experienced by those living with breast or prostate cancer is linked to poorer outcomes, emphasizing the need for community-centric approaches to address holistic health needs, combat isolation, and ensure timely access to advancements in care.
Dr. Karen E. Knudsen, CEO of the American Cancer Society, highlighted the goal of ending cancer for everyone, including medically underrepresented communities, through robust partnerships. The collaboration with Pfizer aims to deliver measurable, sustainable, and systemic solutions, providing access to high-quality care and treatments for all individuals.
ACS plans to leverage its extensive network and collaborate with on-the-ground partners to promote awareness of no- and low-cost screening, access to programs, and culturally sensitive outreach in communities disproportionately affected by breast and prostate cancer. The initiative seeks to accelerate access to current treatments and future scientific advancements, fostering equitable outcomes for all patients.
Utilizing evidence-based patient navigation programs, ACS will guide patients through the complexities of their cancer journey, providing information on recommended screenings, treatments, community resources, and emotional support. The initiative will empower patients and healthcare providers in medically underrepresented communities with information about clinical trials and address potential barriers to participation. ACS will also work with its Health Equity Ambassadors network to deliver trusted cancer prevention and early detection resources and information into each community.