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Pfizer and the American Cancer Society announces $15 million cancer care initiative

The Change the Odds program is designed to improve “fundamental inequities” in prostate and breast cancer care.
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Almost 300,000 US adults will receive a prostate cancer diagnosis in 2024, according to research from the American Cancer Society (ACS). Of those cases, ACS anticipates more than 35,000 patients will die from the disease.

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and the ACS are looking to reduce those numbers through Change the Odds: Uniting to Improve Cancer Outcomes, a three-year initiative aimed at improving cancer care disparities in medically underserved communities.

The campaign will center on improving care for breast and prostate cancer—with the potential of expanding to more cancer types in the future—and focus on “enhancing access to cancer screenings, clinical trial opportunities, patient support, and a comprehensive patient navigation program,” Emma Andrews, Pfizer’s VP of global patient advocacy, told Healthcare Brew.

The ACS will use its relationships with providers to promote services and low-cost screenings “in a culturally sensitive way and focus on communities that are disproportionately impacted by breast and prostate cancer,” Andrews said.

Even though cancer prevention and care have advanced in recent years, there are “racial, socioeconomic, and geographic disparities” that contribute to differences in cancer mortality rates, according to a 2023 ACS report.

Despite the incidence of prostate cancer being only 70% higher, Black adults are ~200% more likely to die from the disease than white, Hispanic/Latino, or Asian American/Pacific Islander adults. Similarly, despite a 4% lower incidence in breast cancer diagnoses, Black adults are ~40% more likely to die than white adults. These mortality rate differences are all “largely rooted in fundamental inequities in social determinants of health,” according to the report.

These fundamental inequities are exactly what Change the Odds is setting out to address, Andrews said.

“When it comes to removing barriers to access and equitable access to cancer care, we know that one organization cannot do this alone,” Andrews said. “But in three years, I’m optimistic we’ll be able to show we’ve moved the needle.”

Navigate the healthcare industry

Healthcare Brew covers pharmaceutical developments, health startups, the latest tech, and how it impacts hospitals and providers to keep administrators and providers informed.