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American Cancer Society, Pfizer Join Forces on Breast, Prostate Cancer Disparity Initiative

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The drugmaker is spending $15 million over a three-year period to address cancer care disparities in breast and prostate cancer.

The American Cancer Society and Pfizer announced the launch of a three-year, $15 million program today to bridge disparity gaps in cancer care.

The program, called “Change the Odds,” will focus on breast and prostate cancer in medically underserved communities initially and may be expanded to other types of cancer, according to a joint news release from the cancer society and the drug company, which makes Ibrance (palbociclib),a treatment drug for metastatic breast cancer, and Xtandi ( enzalutamide), a prostate cancer drug, both of which are among rank among the top cancer drug in terms of sales revenue.

The program “aims to improve health outcomes in medically underrepresented communities across the United States by enhancing awareness of and access to cancer screenings, clinical trial opportunities, and patient support and comprehensive navigation,” according to the new release

The cancer society’s “Cancer Facts & Figures 2024” report estimates that there will be 310,720 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in women this year. The five-year survival rate is 10% lower (in absolute terms) for Black women (83%) than for White women (93%), according to the report, which says the difference reflects the lower likelihood of localized-stage diagnosis among Black women than among White women (56% versus 67%). The report also notes that the death rate from breast cancer has stayed about 40% higher among Black women than among White women since the early 2000s, despite lower incidence in Black women.

“Cancer Facts and Figures 2024” estimates that there will be 299,010 new cases of prostate cancer diagnosed in the U.S. this year and that just over 35,000 men in the U.S. will die from the disease this year.

The incidence of prostate cancer is about 70% higher in Black men than in White men for reasons that remain unclear, according to the cancer society’s 2024 report, which also says that Black men in the U.S. and the Caribbean have the highest documented prostate cancer incidence rates in the world.

Karen E. Knudsen, Ph.D., MBA, CEO of the American Cancer Society

Karen E. Knudsen, Ph.D., MBA, CEO of the American Cancer Society

“Our goal of ending cancer as we know it, for everyone, including medically underrepresented communities, can only be attained through strong and actionable partnerships with a shared vision like ours with Pfizer,” said Karen E. Knudsen, Ph.D., MBA, CEO of the American Cancer Society, in the news release.

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