Avoiding Pro Forma: A Health Equity–Conscious Approach to Cancer Control Research

Published:December 22, 2021DOI:
      Over the last 30 years, cancer mortality rates have fallen significantly,
      • Siegel RL
      • Miller KD
      • Fuchs HE
      • Jemal A.
      Cancer statistics, 2021.
      but these benefits have not been experienced consistently across all populations or geographical areas. The avoidable differences or disparities in cancer outcomes are largely attributed to the historical and contemporary structures, processes, practices, and policies that create or reinforce the inequitable allocation and accessibility of resources, services, and opportunities, thereby hindering the attainment of the highest level of health for all—health equity.
      • Bailey ZD
      • Krieger N
      • Agénor M
      • Graves J
      • Linos N
      • Bassett MT.
      Structural racism and health inequities in the USA: evidence and interventions.
      These inequities permeate the structural conditions in which people live, learn, work, play, and age, known as the social determinants of health (SDOH).
      National Academies of
      Hence, the authors propose a move away from merely a disparities-centered research to an equity agenda within the mission of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to account for the social context(s) and need(s) of communities for cancer prevention and control research. This paper argues for a more comprehensive and reflective cancer control research approach, that is a health equity–conscious approach, where researchers avoid pro forma and break from the traditional majority-centric health disparities research paradigm.
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