Breakthroughs in research have made it possible for more people to live with cancer than ever before, but not everyone is benefitting from scientific progress equally as disparities in cancer care continue to be prevalent. Specifically, Black Americans have the highest death rate and shortest survival rate of any racial or ethnic group in the U.S. for most cancers.
This topic and more take center stage in a multimedia series called Survivorship Today: What It’s Like to Live with Cancer. The series aims to support the nearly 17 million cancer survivors in the U.S. and advance our collective understanding of what it’s like to live with this disease today. At the core of this program is an episodic film series featuring individuals affected by cancer, shining a spotlight on the raw, diverse experiences of survivorship in America.
One such survivor is Woodrow (“Woody”), who experienced health inequity firsthand after being diagnosed with osteosarcoma, or bone cancer, at age nine in the 1960s. In Survivorship Today, Woody shares that he was relegated to the segregated “colored” ward in his hometown hospital’s basement where his left leg was amputated, and how this experience changed the trajectory of his life.
Woody is now a passionate advocate for health equity, working with nonprofits to raise awareness of health disparities in the Black community. He can speak to the barriers to cancer care Black Americans often face today, including limited services in their neighborhoods, lack of childcare or transportation to appointments, and general distrust of the medical community.
Joining Woody is Shelley Fuld Nasso, CEO of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS), who will support a robust discussion on health inequities and disparities in cancer survivorship care. Shelley will also discuss the NCCS’ 2021 State of Cancer Survivorship Survey results, which include new findings on the reality of disparities in cancer survivorship care today.
Interview courtesy: Bristol Myers Squibb