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Cancer Health Disparities

Cancer affects everyone – but the burden is often much higher in certain ethnic and socioeconomic populations.

According to the National Cancer Institute, death rates from cancer are higher in African Americans, particularly African American males, compared to any other racial or ethnic group. Hispanics and Latinos have the highest rates for cancers associated with infection (such as liver, stomach, and cervical cancers) and are more likely to be diagnosed with advanced stages of the most common cancers than non-Hispanic whites.

Through our research, education and outreach programs, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center is committed to reducing these disparities and improving cancer health equity in our community, nationwide, and globally. Our multi-faceted approach includes:

  • Encouraging cancer screening and prevention strategies, e.g., HPV vaccination and smoking cessation, in disproportionately affected communities
  • Communicating the critical importance and supporting the inclusion of minorities in cancer research and clinical trials
  • Designing and conducting large-scale studies to identify key cancer risk factors and the most promising strategies for improving cancer health equity among minorities and socioeconomically disadvantaged populations

Learn more about our

Healthy Communities Program

Our Healthy Communities Program provides culturally-appropriate education to the African American and Latino communities on cancer prevention, screening and clinical trials.

Download our brochure in English | Spanish

Meharry-Vanderbilt-Tennessee State Cancer Partnership

The Meharry-Vanderbilt-Tennessee State Cancer Partnership (MVTCP) brings together members of three institutions to address the disproportionate impact of cancer on minority and/or underserved populations through research, training and community outreach.

Learn More at


The Southern Community Cohort Study

sccs logoThe Southern Community Cohort Study (SCCS) was established to address many unresolved questions about the root causes of cancer health disparities. This prospective cohort study of approximately 85,000 adults in the southeastern United States has among the highest representation of African Americans among existing U.S. cohorts and a large biorepository poised to address scientific questions about the causes of both common and rare cancers.

Learn more about the SCCS at:



Cancer Health Disparities News

June 29, 2019

Health disparity for blacks exists within lung screening guidelines

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) guidelines that determine which smokers qualify for CT scans exclude significant numbers of African Americans who develop lung cancer, a health disparity that merits modifications to lung cancer screening criteria, according to a study from Vanderbilt researchers.
August 3, 2018

Grant to develop ways to measure medical mistrust in African-American men

Vanderbilt University Medical Center has been awarded a two-year, $250,000 grant by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to develop new ways to measure trust in African-American men as it relates to health care.
August 3, 2018

Latino faith leaders gather to discuss health needs in their community

Nearly 50 faith leaders from at least 20 Latino churches gathered at the Coleman Park Community Center on July 14, 2018, for the Faith and Health Collaborative’s Breakfast with Pastors.