On Thursday, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, AL-07, introduced a resolution recognizing February 4th as “World Cancer Day.” This year’s theme to “Close the Care Gap” draws attention to the importance of raising awareness and launching efforts to eliminate racial, ethnic, and geographic inequities and disparities that exist in cancer care both in the United States and globally.
“Whether you have been diagnosed with cancer yourself or watched a loved one undergo treatment, we know that every family on Earth has been affected by cancer in some way,” said Rep. Sewell. “We also know that cancer doesn’t affect every community equally, as minority and underserved communities continue to experience higher rates of cancer diagnosis and death. It is my hope that by recognizing February 4th as World Cancer Day, we can draw attention to these disparities and work to eliminate them. Through our collective efforts, we can pave the way for a world without cancer.”
It is estimated that 1 in 5 people will develop cancer during their lifetime across the globe. In the U.S., more than 1.9 million new cancers and more than 600,000 cancer-related deaths occurred in 2023. In 2024, it is projected that new cancer cases will exceed 2 million for the first time.
Unfortunately, disparities still exist in cancer care, with members of racial and ethnic minorities experiencing disproportionately higher rates of cancer incidence and mortality relative to their white counterparts. While prevention and early detection initiatives have helped to reduce cancer care inequities and improve patient outcomes, significant work must be done to further address disparities in screening, diagnosis, and treatment for groups such as African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and American Indian/Alaska Natives.
The World Cancer Day Resolution was cosponsored by Reps. Robin Kelly, IL-02, Bonnie Watson Coleman, NJ-12, and Raul Grijalva, AZ-07. It is also supported by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF), the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), and the Alliance for Cancer Care Equity (ACCE).
Resolution text is available here.