February is Cancer Awareness Month; we recognize and celebrate the progress we’ve made in the fight against cancer. A recent report from the American Cancer Society shows that the cancer death rate across the country has decreased 31% in the past 30 years. It’s clear that scientific discovery, cancer screenings and good public policy are paving the road to defeat cancer.
However, it is also clear that not everyone has benefited equally from those scientific discoveries. We must address health disparities that result in higher rates of cancer incidence and deaths among rural residents, communities of color and people with lower incomes.
In Central Valley rural communities, some of these health disparities include a higher rate of smoking compared to the overall state average, lack of access to health care, healthy foods and even clean water. COVID-19 has highlighted health disparities that have continued to disenfranchise these communities as a result of systemic policies that have been enacted over decades.
Where you live shouldn’t determine if you live. American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) volunteers like me urge our local and government leaders to stand up for laws that make a lasting and positive impact in the lives of people in the Central Valley. To learn about how you can join us in the fight against cancer here in the Central Valley, visit and like our ACS CAN Voices Inspiring Valley Action Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ACSCAN.VIVA.
Volunteer, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN)