Cancer Equity Initiative
From the moment of diagnosis, race, ethnicity, income level, zip code, and language create financial and clinical barriers to cancer care. These factors should not define a patient’s chance of survival, but they do.
Learn how we’re addressing the severe financial barriers faced by Black and Hispanic/Latino communities through our Cancer Equity Initiative (CEI).
Financial stress among Black and Hispanic/Latino patients
Racial wealth disparities lead to financial barriers that impact Black and Hispanic/Latino patients’ access to care. These patients:
Are less likely to be insured, which can lead to later-stage diagnoses and worse treatment outcomes 1
Report higher rates of food and housing insecurities during cancer treatment compared to white patients 2
Are more likely to skip treatment for financial reasons 3
Meeting patients at their local hospitals
For our first on-site pilot program, we placed a member of our staff in treatment centers in Philadelphia, where 61% of the people we’re supporting identify as Black and/or Hispanic/Latino and 78% are living on $40,000 or less.
This on-site approach allows our national organization to:
- Build trust with local patients and healthcare providers
- Work with on-site care teams to quickly identify families in need
- Increase historically underserved patients’ access to tailored, comprehensive financial support
Collaborating locally to reach patients
Due to current and historically poor experiences in healthcare, Black and Hispanic/Latino patients often seek support from community groups they know and trust.
We partner with regional Black and/or Hispanic/Latino-led nonprofits to deliver our financial support to patients in their communities. These partnerships allow us to meet patients where they are, in places where trust has already been established.
Partnership locations are chosen using state-level data from the CDC and US Census Bureau. This data helps us identify locations with the highest rates of both cancer mortality and poverty among Black and Hispanic/Latino communities.
Improving access to financial support
At Family Reach, “meeting patients where they are” is more than just a phrase. Meeting the needs of Black and Hispanic/Latino patients is critical to their overall survival.
56% of those supported in 2022 identified as racially or ethnically diverse
85% of Black and 80% of Hispanic/Latino patients reported a decrease in financial stress
An average 88% reported greater awareness of financial resources during cancer treatment
- BARNETT, JC, & BERCHICK, ER. CURRENT POPULATION REPORTS, P60-260. HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE IN THE UNITED STATES: 2016.U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE, WASHINGTON, DC, 2017
- PATIENT SURVEY| FAMILY REACH | 2023
- LEE M, KHAN MM. GENDER DIFFERENCES IN COST-RELATED MEDICATION NON-ADHERENCE AMONG CANCER SURVIVORS. J CANCER SURVIV. 2016;10(2):384-393. DOI: 10.1007/S11764-015-0484-5
IN ACTION: ON-SITE SUPPORT
During a meeting with our on-site staff member in Philadelphia, Tyronnica shared that she had missed weeks of work due to surgeries and radiation related to her breast cancer treatment. She is the sole provider for her seven-year-old grandson, and it was becoming difficult to support him and stay current on household bills.
Our on-site staff member provided a grant that helped Tyronnica avoid a pending disconnection from the gas company and cover her monthly car payment so she could continue driving to treatment. She also connected Tyronnica to assistance programs with the Philadelphia Water Department and Philadelphia Gas Works, providing long-term support.
IN ACTION: COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS
Arleth is a Honduran woman who has lived in Maryland with her husband, sister, and two children for the last eight years. She recently enrolled in a clinical trial for lymphoma, leaving her unable to work. Her husband is the sole income earner.
Our community partner, Nueva Vida, met Arleth at their outreach event at a local restaurant. They provided case management and connected Arleth to our financial services, which covered her rent and car insurance. “I would not be able to do a clinical trial if not for this support,” shared Arleth