Cancer mortality rates are approximately 8% higher in rural populations and mortality rates are falling more slowly in rural communities, resulting in widening rural-urban health disparities in the United States. The NCI has a long history of supporting health disparities research, including research to understand the health needs, strengths, and opportunities in rural communities. However, the portfolio analysis described in this article underscores the need to significantly accelerate rural cancer control research in partnership with state and local communities. This commentary outlines NCI's efforts over the last four years to address gaps in rural cancer control research and improve cancer prevention, control, and care delivery in rural populations. Future directions, challenges, and opportunities are also discussed.
©2020 American Association for Cancer Research.