World Cancer Day

Photo of a woman and her doctor

CDC works to eliminate cancer health disparities to make sure everyone in the United States can get the cancer care they need.

CDC is working to make sure everyone in the United States can get the cancer care they need.

Health equity in cancer is when everyone has an equal opportunity to prevent cancer, find it early, and get proper treatment and follow-up to live life to the fullest. CDC works to eliminate cancer health disparities to improve the health of all Americans.

People can lower their risk of getting many common kinds of cancer by making healthy choices. Screening tests can find some cancers early, when treatment works best.

Unfortunately, many Americans can’t make healthy choices because of factors like where they live, their physical or mental abilities, or their income. As a result, they have more health problems than others.

Many people don’t get screened because they have a low income, don’t have health insurance, or have trouble going to a doctor. If they do get screened and cancer is found, they may delay starting treatment or take less medicine than prescribed for the same reasons.

These issues cost lives—

  • Black men have the highest rates of getting and dying from cancer in the United States.
  • Hispanic and Black women are more likely to get and die from cervical cancer than White women.
  • American Indian and Alaska Native people have much higher rates of getting lung, colorectal, liver, stomach, and kidney cancers compared to non-Hispanic White people.
  • Hepatitis B disproportionately affects Asian people and is the leading cause of liver cancer in this group. Asian and Pacific Islander people have a high rate of getting liver cancer.
  • People with disabilities have lower cancer screening rates than people without disabilities, making it more likely that their cancer will be found later, when it is harder to treat.

We Can Close the Care Gap

CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control (DCPC) strives for a world where all people are free of cancer. DCPC is working to advance equity through research, programs, and partnerships. DCPC educates people about cancer prevention and risk so they know how to take steps to lower their risk. DCPC also works to increase screening among groups of people who are more likely to get or die from cancer.

You can help create a future without cancer.

Photo of a man talking to his doctor

Talk to your doctor about cancer screening tests. If you don’t have a regular doctor, contact your health insurance company, health department, or CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program.

Photo of a young Asian woman eating a salad

Make healthy choices like avoiding tobacco, protecting your skin from the sun, limiting the amount of alcohol you drink, and keeping a healthy weight.

More Information

Page last reviewed: January 25, 2022