A Necessary Conversation About Color and Cancer

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  • June 9, 2021

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As longtime patient advocates, we strongly support cancer awareness days because they illuminate the patient journey and, ultimately, can help drive broader change on behalf of patients.

That is why we wanted to highlight a new awareness week that recently caught our attention.

June 17-23 is the first-ever National Black Family Cancer Awareness Week, created to increase cancer awareness in one of the most vulnerable segments of the U.S. population. The initiative supports a dual mission in the Black community: increasing cancer clinical trial awareness, and encouraging participation in national cancer research genetic databases.

National Black Family Cancer Awareness Week is a community-based initiative through the Oncology Center of Excellence, a division of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The centerpiece of their effort is a Thursday, June 17 panel discussion highlighting the latest in research and patient advocacy around health equity. Entitled “National Black Family Cancer Awareness Week: Engaging the Generations,” this online event is free and open to all (register here).

Panelists include, among others: Otis Brawley, MD, former Chief Medical Officer at the American Cancer Society who now leads disparities research at Johns Hopkins; former NFL player Chris Draft, a nationally recognized lung cancer advocate; and Brian Rivers, PhD, MPH, Director of the Cancer Health Equity Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine.

While the creation of this weeklong event is long overdue, it arrives as the national conversation around racial equity in healthcare is at the forefront. Through events such as National Black Family Cancer Awareness Week, we can amplify the conversation and collectively take another crucial step toward much-needed systemic change.

Download a social media toolkit and encourage others to participate using the hashtag #BlackFamCan.