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Fighting Against Cancer Inequities: Pfizer and ACS's Bold Plan to Tackle Cancer Disparities


5 February 2024

The American Cancer Society and Pfizer have launched "Change the Odds: Uniting to Improve Cancer Outcomes," a $15 million, three-year initiative aimed at revolutionizing cancer care by addressing disparities. This pioneering program seeks to enhance access to screenings, clinical trials, and support within medically underserved communities across the United States, with an initial focus on breast and prostate cancer, aiming to broaden its impact over time.

Breast and prostate cancer, being the most commonly diagnosed cancers among women and men in the U.S., respectively, are the initial focus. These cancers not only have a higher incidence but also exhibit pronounced disparities across different races and ethnicities, particularly in urban and rural settings. These disparities contribute to higher mortality rates and underscore the urgent need for targeted, community-centric approaches.

At the heart of this initiative is the commitment to make cancer care equitable. Chris Boshoff, Pfizer's Chief Oncology Officer, emphasized, “Cancer doesn’t discriminate – and neither should cancer care. Everyone should have the same opportunity to access the latest advances in care, regardless of their background or where they live. We’re proud to partner with the American Cancer Society on a broad, community-focused initiative to reach people living with cancer where they are, with urgency, and connect them to resources to receive the care they deserve.”

The initiative promises to address the entire spectrum of patient needs, from enhancing awareness to facilitating access to cutting-edge treatments and emotional support. This includes a special focus on connecting patients with no- and low-cost screening options and providing culturally sensitive outreach in communities disproportionately affected by breast and prostate cancer.

Dr. Karen E. Knudsen, CEO of the American Cancer Society, shared the vision of eradicating cancer for everyone, highlighting the critical role of partnerships: "Our goal of ending cancer as we know it, for everyone, including medically underrepresented communities, can only be attained through strong and actionable partnerships with a shared vision like ours with Pfizer. Our collaboration will help unlock ACS’ full potential in addressing health disparities with measurable, sustainable and systemic solutions to deliver access to high-quality care and treatments for every individual.”

Moreover, the American Cancer Society plans to empower patients and healthcare providers with information about clinical trials, addressing potential barriers to participation. The involvement of Health Equity Ambassadors further aims to deliver trusted cancer prevention and early detection resources directly to communities in need.

Key statistics underline the urgency of this initiative:

  • Approximately 299,000 men are expected to be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2024, with Black men facing significantly higher risks.
  • Nearly 311,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, with disparities in mortality rates starkly evident among Black women.
  • The initiative also draws attention to the broader issue of cancer care disparities across socio-economic and geographic divides, emphasizing the need for equitable access to cancer prevention, detection, and treatment.

This collaboration between the American Cancer Society and Pfizer Oncology represents a significant step forward in the fight against cancer. It not only aims to change the odds for those currently battling cancer but also sets a precedent for future efforts to ensure that everyone, regardless of background, has the opportunity to live a cancer-free life.

About the American Cancer Society and Pfizer Oncology:

The American Cancer Society, with over a century of dedication to combating cancer through advocacy, research, and patient support, aims to end cancer as we know it, for everyone. Pfizer Oncology, leading the charge in a new era of cancer care, is committed to delivering transformative therapies to improve the lives of patients worldwide.


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