Understanding and addressing social determinants to advance cancer health equity in the United States: A blueprint for practice, research, and policy

CA Cancer J Clin. 2020 Jan;70(1):31-46. doi: 10.3322/caac.21586. Epub 2019 Oct 29.


Although cancer mortality rates declined in the United States in recent decades, some populations experienced little benefit from advances in cancer prevention, early detection, treatment, and survivorship care. In fact, some cancer disparities between populations of low and high socioeconomic status widened during this period. Many potentially preventable cancer deaths continue to occur, and disadvantaged populations bear a disproportionate burden. Reducing the burden of cancer and eliminating cancer-related disparities will require more focused and coordinated action across multiple sectors and in partnership with communities. This article, part of the American Cancer Society's Cancer Control Blueprint series, introduces a framework for understanding and addressing social determinants to advance cancer health equity and presents actionable recommendations for practice, research, and policy. The article aims to accelerate progress toward eliminating disparities in cancer and achieving health equity.

Keywords: health care disparities; health equity; policy; social determinants of health; social discrimination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Global Health
  • Health Equity / standards*
  • Health Policy*
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Morbidity / trends
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Social Determinants of Health / standards*
  • Survival Rate / trends