The Oncology Center of Excellence (OCE) Project ASIATICA is an initiative to bring focus and awareness to Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Other Pacific Islander (AA & NHPI) patients with cancer.
According to the 2020 United States census, more than 20 million people identify as being part of the AA or NHPI communities. However unlike other populations in the U.S. for whom heart disease is the leading cause of death, cancer is the leading cause of death for AA & NHPI communities.
The NHPI community is distinct from the AA community—each faces their own significant and unique healthcare challenges and disparities, particularly in light of a cancer diagnosis. Project ASIATICA will focus on advocacy, research, and policy, with a goal of bringing greater awareness and understanding of the challenges faced by AA & NHPI patients with cancer.
In October 1997, the Office of Management and Budget followed the recommendations from the Interagency Committee for the Review of the Racial and Ethnic Standards and separated the Asian or Pacific Islander category into two separate categories: “Asian” and “Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.” Yet NHPI patients with cancer continue to be underrepresented in oncology clinical trials and oncology research, and have worse outcomes when diagnosed with cancer.
Within the AA community, screening rates are the lowest for certain cancers. Once a cancer diagnosis has been made, navigating the healthcare setting for treatment can pose its own challenges in light of the current oncology healthcare inequities, including cultural, language, and other barriers to access.
The OCE held the following Conversations on Cancer public panel discussions, which highlighted some of the ongoing challenges:
- July 29, 2021: Conversations on Cancer – Advancing Equity in Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities: Racism and Injustice
- March 28, 2023: Conversations on Cancer – Advancing a More Equal Future for AA&NHPI Patients with Cancer
OCE looks forward to further engaging with the AA & NHPI communities and other stakeholders to advance this effort. For inquiries regarding this program, please contact projectASIATICA@fda.hhs.gov.
- Advancing Therapies for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Other Pacific Islanders With Cancer: OCE's Project ASIATICA. JCO-Oncology Practice, Jennifer J. Gao, Richard Pazdur, and Tamy Kim, Published online June 29, 2023.
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