Health Equity In Cancer Clinical Trials
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, we collaborated with Stand Up to Cancer to share inspiring stories and information in an effort to help those affected by the disease. To kick off this series, we're starting with the topic of health equity in cancer clinical trials, with a special spotlight on a survivor. Be sure to stay tuned all month long as we further explore topics surrounding Breast Cancer Awareness and the impactful people we're honored to spotlight along the way.
Through its Health Equity Initiative, Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) seeks to increase the accessibility of SU2C-funded clinical trials to more diverse populations. As one of the leading funders in cancer research, SU2C is working to ensure that minority representation in cancer clinical trials is addressed. Now, more than ever, a better understanding of the role of biology in cancer treatment, advances in precision treatment, and the development of new technologies demands that significant improvements are made in diverse clinical trial participation.
Two-time cancer survivor and research advocate, Ghecemy Lopez, shared her thoughts with Stand Up To Cancer relating to health equity in cancer clinical trials during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Now is the time everyone should be willing to accept help if it means keeping yourself safe.” – Ghecemy Lopez, a two-time cancer survivor.
How has facing cancer helped you deal with everything happening in the world right now?
Facing cancer inspired me to become a cancer research advocate focused on closing the health gap for patients in underrepresented communities. As a survivor, I’m used to the unknown and adapting to a new normal. I’m using that experience to help my patients and community adapt and stay safe as well.
What is your advice to anyone impacted by cancer right now?
I have a lot of patients still in treatment or high risk for COVID-19 right now so I’ve been checking in on them and offering to help where I can. My advice is to focus on milestones instead of days, find reliable health guidelines, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Now is the time when everyone should be willing to accept help if your health could be at risk.
What are some of the barriers your patients are facing right now?
Currently, there are a lot of disparities in the information on COVID-19 that is being presented in Spanish vs. English. Many people in my community aren’t getting a full picture of what’s going on. I’m also helping navigate support services that may be available to those out of work or at home.
Why is diversity in clinical trials so important for COVID-19 and cancer research?
The standard of care for any virus or disease comes from clinical trials. We’re seeing this firsthand with COVID-19 as researchers are hard at work finding a way to combat this through clinical trials. The more diverse the patient population is during these trials, the better researchers will understand how a larger population will respond to treatment once it’s approved and on the market. The same is true for cancer clinical trials. It’s how we will continue to improve patient outcomes and ultimately save lives.
Who do you Stand Up for?
There are many people that aren’t able to stay home right now, and some of these people are cancer survivors who are risking their health for all of us. The doctors, nurses, pharmacists, grocery store clerks, delivery services and so many others are standing up so that we can get through this. It is my hope that together, we can change the status quo and equally Stand Up for one another in the future.
We collaborated with our friends at Stand Up To Cancer to derive this informational and educational content. The content on this site does not constitute medical advice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any treatment, exercise, training, or athletic program.
Stand Up To Cancer’s (SU2C) raises funds to accelerate the pace of groundbreaking research that provides new therapies to patients quickly and save lives now. By galvanizing the entertainment industry, SU2C has set out to generate awareness, educate the public on cancer prevention, and help more people diagnosed with cancer become long-term survivors. To learn more and donate to Stand Up To Cancer, visit www.StandUpToCancer.org today.