After a year of highlighting the health disparities that exist in the world, World Health Day on April 7th is exploring how to build a fairer and healthier world.
Organized by the World Health Organization (WHO), World Health Day has been celebrated since the mid-1900s. It is a day of world health awareness showcasing a specific health topic or concern to people across the globe.
This year, WHO is drawing attention to the undeniable need to build a fairer and healthier world. As COVID-19 highlighted, some people are able to live healthier lives and have better access to health services than others. This discrepancy is entirely due to the conditions in which they are born, grow, live, work, and age. While this world health issue is prominent in developing countries, the United States experiences these disparities within its own borders.
The National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) acknowledges that there is a long road ahead to combat health disparities and that everyone has a role to play. This World Health Day join NFCR in celebrating and working towards a fairer and healthier world by promoting cancer screening recommendations, advocating for equal access to care, and supporting research that combats racial disparities in cancer.
Promoting Cancer Screenings
Celebrate World Health Day by sharing lifesaving health tips with friends and family.
Cancer prevention is an important lifestyle – and cancer screenings are a major piece to that puzzle. The medical world has a long list of health tips and recommendations and, while each health tip is important, the never-ending list can be overwhelming to absorb. Cancer screening timelines are one of the most important health tips and recommendations available, as it is the best way to identify cancer at an early stage. The earlier cancer is detected, the easier it can be to treat. Take the time to share cancer screening guidelines with loved ones, especially those who are recommended to undergo screenings.
NFCR has a simple and straightforward guide for cancer screenings. This guide separates health tips for men and health tips for women, further breaking each category down into age groups. The simple, easy-to-read table is available every day – but especially pertinent on World Health Day.
Advocating for Equal Access to Care
In theme with World Health Day 2021, there is a lot of work to do within the US to combat health disparities. There is no better opportunity to celebrate World Health Day than by advocating for equal access to care within one’s own community.
Though cancer affects all population groups within the US, cancer health disparities are evident between different racial groups. African American women, for example, are nearly twice as likely as white women to be diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer. Hispanic and Latin individuals experience a higher prevalence of hepatitis B, which can lead to liver cancer. Many of these disparities exist due to a social determinant of health. This could be socioeconomic status or simply the lack of access to culturally appropriate health services including health care professionals who speak Spanish.
Exploring which health disparities exist in one’s own community and advocating to improve access to care will ultimately support World Health Day’s mission in building a fairer and healthier world.
Supporting Research That Combats Racial Disparities in Cancer
Factors contributing to the cancer health disparities must be identified in order to address them. Some of the factors, including those addressed above, have already been identified. But the roles played by genetics and biology in cancer health disparities are still not clear.
NFCR is committed to funding researchers addressing the issue of racial or ethnic cancer health disparities. NFCR Fellow Dr. Wei Zhang is a leading researcher combatting racial health disparities in cancer care. One of his recent projects focused on analyzing gene sequencing data from both Caucasians and African Americans to identify key mutations in smoking-related cancers.
Dr. Zhang will continue to combat racial disparities in cancer care while sharing his data with other major precision oncology programs in the country. NFCR looks forward to continuing to support these efforts and encourages others to do the same in order to build a fairer and healthier world.
To learn more about Dr. Zhang and his research, or to support his ongoing research, visit www.nfcr.org.
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