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The American Cancer Society and Pfizer: Breaking Barriers in Cancer Care Disparities

Pfizer American Cancer Society Change the Odds

The American Cancer Society (ACS) and Pfizer launched on February 5th, “Change the Odds: Uniting to Improve Cancer OutcomesTM,” a three-year initiative to address disparities in cancer care. Through $15 million in funding from Pfizer, the initiative 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, patient support and comprehensive navigation. “Change the Odds” will initially focus on breast and prostate cancer. ACS plans to engage additional partners to extend the reach of the programmatic activities to more individuals and deepen the tangible impact in select communities.

Square headshot of Chris Boshoff of Pfizer

Cancer doesn’t discriminate – and neither should cancer care. Everyone should have the same opportunity to access the latest advances in care, regardless of their background or where they live. We’re proud to partner with the American Cancer Society on a broad, community-focused initiative to reach people living with cancer where they are, with urgency, and connect them to resources to receive the care they deserve.

Chris Boshoff

Chief Oncology Officer and Executive Vice President, Pfizer

Breast and prostate cancer are the most common types of cancer diagnosed among women and men in the United States, respectively. Incidence for both cancers continues to increase nationwide, with a greater impact for certain races and ethnicities, which can be more pronounced in urban areas. In addition, people living in rural areas in the United States face barriers to accessing cancer screening and quality care, leading to higher mortality rates. Feelings of social isolation experienced by people living with breast or prostate cancer are associated with poorer outcomes, underscoring a critical need for community-centric approaches that are designed to make a tangible difference in patients’ lives by addressing their whole health needs, tackling seclusion, and providing the help they need to ensure timely access to scientific advances in care.

Dr. Karen Knudsen, 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. Our collaboration will help unlock ACS’ full potential in addressing health disparities with measurable, sustainable, and systemic solutions to deliver access to high-quality care and treatments for every individual.

Karen E. Knudsen

MBA, PhD, Chief Executive Officer, American Cancer Society

Change the Odds

ACS will leverage its broad network and engage on-the-ground partners to connect individuals and promote awareness of no- and low-cost screening and access to programs and services through culturally sensitive outreach in communities disproportionately impacted by breast and prostate cancer. ACS aims to accelerate access to today’s treatments and tomorrow’s scientific advancements to “Change the Odds” to drive sustainable solutions to help ensure equitable outcomes for all patients.

Young woman sharing paperwork with a medical professional

Through ACS’ extensive evidence-based patient navigation programs, patients will be guided through the complexities of their cancer journey and given information to help them understand and access recommended screening, treatments, community resources, and emotional support. ACS will also work to empower patients and healthcare providers in several medically underrepresented communities with information about clinical trials and address potential barriers to trial participation. Additionally, ACS will work alongside its vast network of Health Equity Ambassadors to deliver trusted cancer prevention and early detection resources and information to each community.

Key Statistics


men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2024


higher incidence of prostate cancer in Black men than in White men


women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2024


higher death rate for Black women with breast cancer than White women


  • According to the latest research from ACS, about 299,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2024, with more than 35,000 deaths. The incidence of prostate cancer is about 70% higher in Black men than in White men. Black men are over two times more likely to die from the disease than White, Hispanic, or Asian American/Pacific Islander men.
  • Nearly 311,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, with more than 42,000 deaths.
  • Despite having a 4 percent lower incidence of breast cancer, Black women with breast cancer are 40% more likely to die than White women and twice as likely to die if they are younger than the age of 50. Hispanic women are more likely to be diagnosed with later-staged breast cancer in comparison to White women.
  • While there has been progress in cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment in the United States, people who are of lower socioeconomic status and living in rural areas have not benefited equitably from these advances. In general, survival after a cancer diagnosis is shorter for people of all races who have a lower socioeconomic status and who live in a more rural area than those who do not.
  • Although cancer can disproportionately impact ethnic/racial groups in both incidence and outcome, racial minorities are less likely to be included in clinical trials.
  • Those living in rural areas often experience transportation challenges and other barriers to clinical trial participation.

For more information on “Change the Odds: Uniting to Improve Cancer Outcomes” read this Q&A between Chris Boshoff, Chief Oncology Officer and Executive Vice President, Pfizer, and Dr. Karen Knudsen, Chief Executive Officer, ACS, and visit