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The American Society of Clinical Oncology 2021 annual (virtual) meeting: A review and summary of selected abstracts

      The 2021 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 57th annual meeting was, once again, held virtually but continued to deliver innovative approaches to cancer care. Under the leadership of Dr. Lori Pierce, Professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Michigan, the meeting highlighted both progress and opportunities in oncology with an emphasis on addressing equity. During the opening presentation, it was noted that cancer mortality has dropped by 30% since the 1990's and this is in large part due to cancer screening, prevention, decline in tobacco use, and cancer treatment advances. However, cancer mortality rates continue to be the highest in African Americans. Reducing access issues such as lack of insurance and resources in local communities continue to be targets that need to be addressed. Another focus is the enrollment of underrepresented minorities (URM) on clinical trials, currently accounting for only ~5% of participants. In an open request, ASCO is asking health care providers to continue to identify and share challenges, best practices, resource needs, and opportunities in an effort to increase the enrollment of URM. Notably, in late 2020, ASCO and cancer advocacy groups played an instrumental role in passing the CLINICAL TREATMENT Act which removes barriers to trial participation by ensuring Medicaid (and Medicare) coverage of routine clinical costs associated with clinical trials. This endeavor, along with CancerLinQ, which can improve quality of care and access to trials, will undoubtedly contribute to improving cancer care equity. Here we highlight abstracts presented in gynecologic malignancies.
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