The fight is not new, and we are not new to the fight.

Explaining H.E.R.O.

While overall cancer mortality rates in the U.S. are dropping, populations that have been marginalized are bearing a disproportionate burden of preventable death and disease. 

Despite notable advances in cancer prevention, screening, and treatment, not all individuals benefit equitably from this important progress.

Health equity in cancer care means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer regardless of:

  • race
  • ethnicity
  • gender identity
  • age
  • sexual orientation
  • disability
  • socioeconomic status / income
  • zip code
Welcome to the American Cancer Society’s
Health Equity for Research and Operations (H.E.R.O.) Initiative.


Black women are 40% more likely to die of breast cancer than white women overall.


One-fifth of Latinos under the age of 65 report having no health insurance coverage.

Research Impact

For more than 20 years, the American Cancer Society has been funding research addressing cancer health equity and health disparities within the Clinical and Cancer Control Research Program.

  • To date, the Society has invested more than $300 million funding 550 grants. 
  • Initially investigations focused on gathering data to document that health inequities exist
  • Studies moved to identifying the multifactorial causes;
  • Since 2013, the focus has been on solution-based strategies
  • Currently, there are 68 research grants in effect, with a health equity and disparities focus

Progress in Action:

Michael Potter, MD, researcher at UCSF was funded by the American Cancer Society from 2005-2008 and 2009-2013. His work demonstrated the effectiveness of offering home fecal immunochemical tests (FIT) during flu shot clinics serving diverse patients at Kaiser Permanente Northern California.

  • Kaiser Permanente Northern California has adopted the FLU-FIT Program as a recommended strategy for all of their facilities
  • The FLU-FIT Program was designated as a “Research Tested Intervention Program” by the National Cancer Institute (NCI)
  • It’s now listed as one of only 10 such programs for colorectal cancer screening on their website
  • The American Cancer Society has conducted its own FLU-FIT pilot program in a national sample of community health centers
  • The take-home FluFOBT Program is a proven approach to increase colorectal cancer screening rates.

Success Stories

How To Get Involved

The bottom line is that with your partnership, the American Cancer Society can save even more lives every day. There are an infinite number of ways to get involved and advance equity in cancer, including:

Join the League of Heroes

We are calling on a League of Heroes to join us in this fight for health equity.


Become a Corporate Partner

We welcome courageous companies to help us battle health injustices.


Become an Impact Maker

Our most dedicated C-suite and executive leaders can use their influence to help solve health inequities.


Attend an Event

Partnership events will help the American Cancer Society shine a light on cancer disparities.



Every Hero has an origin story. What’s yours?



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