Updated Jul 13, 2023 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on improving equity in cancer care

On Thursday, July 13, Axios health care editor Tina Reed hosted virtual conversations examining ways to reduce inequities and improve patient outcomes across all aspects of cancer care. Guests included deputy assistant to the President for the Cancer Moonshot & OSTP deputy director for health outcomes Danielle Carnival and VCU Massey Cancer Center director and Lipman chair in oncology Robert Winn.

The View from the Top sponsored segment featured AstraZeneca head of US oncology Mohit Manrao.

Danielle Carnival discussed how the Biden administration is working to meet goals to reduce cancer death rates by at least 50% over the next 25 years while mitigating inequities in survival rates and improving access to screenings.

  • On disparities in cancer-related health outcomes: “We have seen a huge amount of progress in saving and extending lives for people facing cancer or even preventing cancer diagnoses in the first place. Over the first two decades of the century, the cancer death rate has been reduced by 25%...but as you point out, that has not reached all Americans equitably. We see disparities in the incidence and the negative outcomes from cancer, especially in Black communities across this country.”
  • On cancer screenings and early detection: “For one example, the President and First Lady right out of the gate with the reignited Cancer Moonshot shined a huge light on the fact that during the COVID pandemic, Americans had missed nearly 10 million cancer screenings. That number has grown since then. But we know that it wasn’t equitable access to cancer screenings and use of cancer screenings in the first place, and so they put a call to action across the federal government.”

Robert Winn explained how engaging with his community directly allows him to learn about health issues that are affecting them, and described the factors driving disparities in cancer rates.

  • On taking walks as a means of engaging with his community: “For me, it really is changing the model from academics having the bench to coming to a bedside and then doing good to communities. It’s really switching that and reversing that to a people to pipette sort of model in which we’re out in the communities and that is informing and helping to inform the type of research and refining our research questions that we believe will be a better help to serving communities.”
  • On understanding structural inequities as drivers of health: “I would say that the one thing we have not paid attention to are the structures. George Weiner from University of Iowa, who is a cancer center director there, and I actually wound up writing a paper together in which we were able to clearly understand that the rural disparities of increased unnecessary deaths from cancer, particularly lung cancer and colorectal cancer and breast cancer, mirrors that of some urban underserved groups. And in fact, what we figured out is that there is more similarities between your rural and say your urban underserved groups in the context of the poorer outcomes.”

In the View from the Top segment, Mohit Manrao emphasized that eliminating disparities in cancer care will require a collaborative effort across the health care industry.

  • “It’s important to first and foremost look at those cancer care gaps and actually agree that no one individual organization or group can solve for those. We need to work together and collaborate and look at those holistically to solve for and make meaningful progress.”

This article was written by Axios as a recap of an event sponsored by AstraZeneca.

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