Even before COVID-19, African Americans had the lowest survival rates for most types of cancer. As the nation continues to navigate its way out of the pandemic, many doctors fear those inequalities are worsening.

On Wednesday, Nov. 17 at 12:00 p.m. ET, join Washington Post Live for a program examining cancer outcomes through the lens of health equity. Experts will present solutions for closing the treatment and survival gaps when it comes to race, economic status and the social determinants of health.

Highlights

“People of color, particularly Black Americans, have higher death rates and higher incidence rates for some of the most common cancers. A lot of it has to do with… the social determinants of health: where Black people live, where they’re born, their socioeconomic status… The common cancers, the most common: breast, lung, colon and prostate, unfortunately, for all those cancers, Black people have higher death rates and for some of them higher incidence rates. We think a lot of it has to do with lack of screening.” (Washington Post Live)
“We know that there was a lot of fear about getting screens done during the COVID pandemic. In fact, access was restricted… some of the screening facilities… were closed during the initial part of COVID. So there are estimates that for some cancers that we can screen for– we can screen for about six different cancers–that there are some estimates about 80 percent reduction in terms of the screening rates.” (Washington Post Live)
“It’s hard not to ignore that things that were maybe on the cusp of curative now may not have been… I’ve had several patients that have come in, ‘I didn’t get my mammogram last year,’ or ‘my colonoscopy’… and were unable and sure enough it’s cancer. That… presents a big challenge in and of itself because things are more advanced now.” (Washington Post Live)

Carol L. Brown, MD

Provided by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Dr. Carol Brown is a board-certified gynecologic cancer surgeon and the Chief Health Equity Officer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK). She also holds the title of Senior Vice President and is the incumbent of the Nicholls-Biondi Chair for Health Equity. For more than 15 years, Dr. Brown has dedicated her career to providing high-quality and compassionate surgical care to women with gynecologic cancer. She is also focused on eliminating cancer health disparities that exist due to racial, ethnic, cultural, or socioeconomic barriers, as well as educating and training the next generation of health care workers in the field of oncology. In her advocacy work, she promotes public policy to spread awareness, improve care, and increase research funding for gynecologic and other cancers, both locally and nationally.

Dr. Brown was the 50th President of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) and the first African American female to lead the SGO. She is the recipient of Harvard University’s Joseph Garrison Parker Prize, the Malcolm X Memorial scholarship from Columbia University, and an American Cancer Society Clinical Oncology Career Development Award. She was included in Crain’s New York Business’ 2021 list of Notable Black Leaders and Executives and is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. Dr. Brown graduated with honors from Harvard University and received her medical degree from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Sanjay Juneja, MD

Dr. Sanjay Juneja is a triple board certified Hematologist & Medical Oncologist practicing in Louisiana and Chief Medical Officer of Oncology at Doctorpedia.com. Dr. Juneja is known best as a social media educator & medical influencer with 500,000+ followers known as ‘TheOncDoc’, and has been featured on dozens of national & international podcasts, local news channels (PBS, CBS, NBC, NPR) as well as in segments for MTV, PureWow, Osmosis, DailyMail, and Dr. Mike. He has a passion for education and believes the thing healthcare needs most is collaboration between patients and professionals to best empower others with knowledge about health and medicine so they can strive in concert to lead healthier and more confident lives.


Karen Winkfield, MD, PhD

Provided by the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance.

Dr. Karen Winkfield is radiation oncologist specializing in the treatment of hematologic and breast malignancies. As the executive direct of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance, she leverages her expertise as an implementation scientist to focus on improving health outcomes for underserved populations through community-engaged research and community-based initiatives designed to improve access to healthcare including clinical trials. Dr. Winkfield obtained her MD and PhD degrees at Duke University and completed residency at Harvard. Her leadership roles have focused on developing bi-directional communication between researchers and community to ensure equitable access to care regardless of race/ethnicity, geographic location or socioeconomic states. She is a thought leader espousing the importance of workforce diversity to improve health equity. Dr. Winkfield was recently appointed by President Biden to the National Cancer Advisory Board.

Content from AstraZeneca

The following content is produced and paid for by a Washington Post Live event sponsor. The Washington Post newsroom is not involved in the production of this content.

(Washington Post Live)

Tackling Equity in Breast Cancer at Every Level

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on overall cancer diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship. Public health experts worry that delayed screenings and interruptions to routine care will cause an influx of unnecessary cancer deaths over the coming years, as cancer grows undetected until it becomes more difficult to treat. This segment affords us an opportunity to reimagine the future of cancer care and seeks to emphasize the importance of interdisciplinary partnerships across the oncology community to address urgent needs for people with or at greater risk for breast cancer.

Margarette Osias

Margarette Osias is a Patient Navigator, Outreach Specialist and Certified Healthcare Interpreter with the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition (DBCC). She has obtained a Bachelor’s Degree from Wilmington University and has been with DBCC for over 2 years. She has a love for working with the underserved communities. She is a compassionate and dedicated Navigator that often goes above and beyond the call of duty to provide support and assistance to the women that she comes in contact with- working hard to overcome barriers and connect them with programs and services. She is fervently out and about in the community networking with medical facilities, faith based and other organizations to share information about DBCC and Breast Cancer Awareness.

Interviewed by Cassandra Codes-Johnson

Cassandra Codes-Johnson, MPA, Lean Six Sigma Greenbelt, has over twenty years of experience in public health. Cassandra is considered a subject matter expert on topics related to public health strategy, examining root causes of health inequities and evidence-based practices for addressing social determinants of health. She is co-author of the Delaware Health Equity Guide for Public Health Practitioners and Partners. Cassandra has experience in the private, nonprofit and government sectors which includes almost two decades of experience working at the community level, engaged in initiatives to improve the health status and economic status of vulnerable populations. Cassandra is currently the Associate Deputy Director for the Delaware Division of Public Health. She provides support and oversight for over 800 dedicated public health staff who work daily to promote and protect the health of Delawareans.

Cassandra has been fortunate to work with national and international organizations such as Family Health International (FHI360), the Administration for Children and Families, Mathematica Policy Research, Nemours, Center for Urban Families, ICF International, National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, Annie E. Casey Foundation, White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Brookings Institute, Columbia University and many others to affect positive change for diverse populations through the implementation of policies, programs and research