Disparities Still Loom Despite Treatment Advancements
We have made progress in the fight against cancer. More people are living with and beyond cancer. Research is advancing and there is an aggressive effort to develop more effective treatments around the world. Despite recent setbacks due to the Coronavirus, the case for optimism can be seen here and here and here.
This is certainly good news; however, there is a long road ahead before organizations like Cancer CAREpoint are no longer needed. “The burden of cancer is not shouldered equally by all segments of the US population,” according to a recent Cancer Disparities Progress report, which calls this inequity ”one of the most pressing public health challenges that we face in the United States.”
Black, Hispanic and Asian communities often face unique obstacles to cancer prevention, treatment, and survivorship, including cultural disconnection, economic opportunity, and access to quality preventative health care. These conditions have been exacerbated since COVID-19 and Shelter-In-Place began.
No one should be at a disadvantage in preventing, treating or surviving cancer because of the color of their skin, their cultural background, their economic status or the place where they were born.
The keys to addressing this disparity lie in early detection and intervention, greater awareness and information, and connection to community resources. At Cancer CAREpoint, we recognize that as a direct service provider we must expand and redefine support to respond to this disconnection. Beyond our reach, however, our broader community has a vital role to play in building a stronger bridge to equity here.
I am often asked, “but what can I do?” The answer is simple: Use your voice and lend a hand.
- Talk to your doctor about early signs, get screened, and encourage others to do the same. Public forums online make sharing this message even easier – Nextdoor, Facebook, Instagram, even TikTok!
- Support organizations doing the work in the community, like community health clinics and the Health Trust in Silicon Valley.
- Be a Virtual Ambassador for Cancer CAREpoint. Help us reach out to communities throughout Silicon Valley providing information and awareness about cancer and available resources.
As for Cancer CAREpoint, we promise to do more, too. We commit in the short and long term to ensure all communities have access to the support they need when they need it most. We have started by offering services in other languages and building relationships with community organizations within the communities we seek to serve – and that is just the beginning. We will do more because we must do more.
If you have suggestions or want to help us, please contact me. I welcome community engagement and support!
Dawn Hogh, Executive Director