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To Improve Cancer Care in Underrepresented Communities, ACS and Pfizer Launch $15M Initiative

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The American Cancer Society (ACS) and Pfizer Inc. have jointly launched a three-year initiative called “Change the Odds: Uniting to Improve Cancer Outcomes™” to improve cancer care. This initiative, backed by $15 million in funding from Pfizer, aims to bridge the gap in cancer care disparities in medically underrepresented communities across the United States.

The primary goal of “Change the Odds” is to enhance awareness of and access to cancer screenings, clinical trial opportunities, and comprehensive patient support in these communities. Initially, the program will focus on breast and prostate cancer, but there is potential for expansion to other cancer types in the future. ACS also plans to collaborate with additional partners to broaden the reach of the program and increase its impact in select communities.

“Cancer doesn’t discriminate – and neither should cancer care,” emphasized Chris Boshoff, Chief Oncology Officer and Executive Vice President of Pfizer. The initiative aims to ensure that all individuals, regardless of their background or location, have equal access to the latest advances in cancer care. It seeks to reach people living with cancer where they are, connect them with essential resources, and provide the care they deserve.

Strategic Partnerships Aim to Overcome Cancer Care Disparities in the U.S.

Breast and prostate cancer are the most commonly diagnosed cancers among women and men in the United States, respectively. Incidence rates for both types of cancer continue to rise nationwide, with certain races and ethnicities being disproportionately affected, particularly in urban areas. People residing in rural areas often face challenges in accessing cancer screenings and quality care, resulting in higher mortality rates. Social isolation experienced by cancer patients can lead to poorer outcomes, highlighting the need for community-centered approaches to address their holistic health needs.

Dr. Karen E. Knudsen, CEO of the American Cancer Society, emphasized the importance of strong partnerships and a shared vision in the effort to end cancer disparities. The collaboration with Pfizer aims to provide measurable, sustainable, and systemic solutions to ensure equitable access to high-quality care and treatments for all individuals, including those in medically underrepresented communities.

Cancer Care

ACS’s Initiative for Equitable Cancer Care and Advanced Treatment Access

The American Cancer Society plans to leverage its extensive network and collaborate with local partners to connect individuals with no- and low-cost cancer screenings. Culturally sensitive outreach efforts will be employed to raise awareness and promote access to programs and services in communities most affected by breast and prostate cancer. ACS aims to expedite access to current cancer treatments and future scientific advancements, with the ultimate goal of achieving equitable outcomes for all cancer patients.

The initiative will include evidence-based patient navigation programs to guide cancer patients through the complexities of their healthcare journey. Patients will receive information and support to help them understand and access recommended screenings, treatments, community resources, and emotional assistance. ACS will also work to empower patients and healthcare providers in medically underrepresented communities with information about clinical trials and address potential barriers to trial participation. Additionally, ACS will deploy its network of Health Equity Ambassadors to provide trusted cancer prevention and early detection resources and information within each community.


Resource: Pfizer, February 06, 2024

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