RCRF recognizes April as National Minority Cancer Awareness Month. It is essential to recognize the unique challenges faced by minority populations in rare cancer research. Despite the advancements in medical research, there continues to be a significant disparity in access to care and participation in research among minority groups.
Clinical trials are crucial in advancing cancer research and improving patient outcomes. However, minority populations remain significantly underrepresented in clinical trials, despite the increasing diversity of the US population. According to the National Cancer Institute, only 7% of clinical trial participants are Black patients, 8% are Hispanic patients, and 2% are Asian patients. This underrepresentation is concerning, as cancer incidence rates among minority populations continue to increase.
One of the primary reasons for the underrepresentation of minority populations in research is the lack of trust in the medical system. This lack of trust is rooted in historical experiences of mistreatment and exploitation in research. To address this issue, it is essential to increase community engagement and education to promote the benefits of cancer research.
Equity in rare cancer research is crucial to ensuring all patients have access to the latest advances in cancer treatment. However, minority populations often face additional barriers to care and may be diagnosed with more advanced stages of cancer. Furthermore, treatment options for rare cancers are often limited, making it challenging for patients to access potentially life-saving treatments.
To address these challenges, we must increase awareness about initiatives like Pattern.org, The Broad Institute’s Count Me In projects, NCI’s MyPart study, and Target Cancer Foundation’s TRACK study to ensure participation is inclusive and representative of all diverse populations. Minority participation in everything from basic research to clinical trials helps to ensure treatments are accelerated that can benefit each patient. Pattern.org supports the donation of excess tumor and fluid samples by any patients in the continental US, regardless of location, and at no cost. By continuing to increase awareness of these rare cancer research initiatives, we continue to build trust and engagement with all communities.
The Rare Cancer Research Foundation is dedicated to improving outcomes for all patients affected by cancer. In recognition of National Minority Cancer Awareness Month, together, we can work towards a future where all patients have access to the care they need and deserve.