The Importance of Health Equity in Preventive Services to the NCI


(Music) Health equity is important to
the National Cancer Institute because the research that we
lead, support, and conduct is really designed to inform
strategies to reduce the incidence of mortality due
to cancer in our population. To the degree that
some populations have disproportionate burden because
that evidence isn’t reaching them either through policy
or clinical practice, we want to make sure that we’re
providing the right evidence through the best research to
reduce those disparities. Well, as NIH’s largest
institute, we have a special responsibility to address
issues of health inequity. And we do this through
application of research but also through the utilization
of our extensive research infrastructure: 70 NCI
designated cancer centers, a major national clinical
trials program, a breadth of epidemiological cohorts,
and intervention studies. And by bringing all of these
resources and tools to bear, we feel we can make significant
progress on reducing health inequities by the generation
of new evidence but also by implementing the best evidence
we currently have available. So, in the area of cancer
control, we have incredible opportunities to significantly
reduce the burden of cancer in underserved communities. And there are some really
compelling examples of this. Cervical cancer is
a great example. There are significant
disparities in cervical cancer incidence of mortality, but
now we have a cancer prevention vaccine, the HPV vaccine. If we can get people vaccinated,
we can prevent cervical cancer. Similarly, in colorectal cancer,
we know that we have the tools, again, the screening modalities,
that can allow us to detect colorectal cancer early but also
to prevent the progression of colorectal cancer. That’s really essential because
what it means is that if we can improve the delivery and uptake
of these preventive services, we know we can have a
significant impact on reducing cancer mortality. We can make tremendous progress
in reducing the most common cancers, the most common causes
of cancer death, by focusing on strategies that address the
biggest risk factors, the biggest drivers of
cancer in America. That includes tobacco use, which
still accounts for a third of all cancer deaths in
the United States. That includes colorectal
cancer, where we have effective screening strategies. And that also applies to cancers
like cervical cancer, where we have an effective
cancer prevention vaccine. By employing the best evidence,
by conducting additional research, and developing more
effective strategies, we can have a significant impact
on reducing health inequity in the United States. (Music)

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