While AACR-fostered research has driven tremendous progress against cancer, these lifesaving advances have not benefited everyone equally. The AACR’s core values include diversity, equity, and inclusion, and a critical element of the AACR’s mission is ensuring that the cancer workforce reflects the community it serves and that everyone—regardless of race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status—can live with or beyond cancer.
In collaboration with Minorities in Cancer Research (MICR)—an AACR membership group committed to preventing and curing cancer while meeting the professional needs and advancing the careers of minority scientists—the AACR works to eliminate inequities through science, policy, and education and training. These efforts, which included new initiatives in 2020 as well as long-standing programs, reflect the AACR’s commitment to creating a more just world:
Colonel Gary Steele
A featured survivor in the AACR Cancer Disparities Progress Report 2020, Colonel Steele was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2011. When the cancer returned two years after a successful surgery, and when radiation failed to keep it from progressing, he enrolled in a clinical trial for a combination therapy of bicalutamide and leuprolide that has controlled his prostate cancer ever since. In 2017, he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, which has been kept under control through surgery and treatment with lenalidomide.
"[When offered the opportunity to] participate in a clinical trial [for bicalutamide and leuprolide], I jumped at the chance. I wanted to be involved in something that could not only help me, but also could help other patients down the road.
A close friend of... mine participated in a clinical trial for [lenalidomide] many years ago, and I am thankful to her and all the other people who participated in the trials that enabled me to have this drug as standard treatment.
[My wife] Mona and I sometimes joke about my situation, saying, 'Why have one type of cancer when you can have two?' But the reality is that I am blessed to be as healthy as I am; both cancers are under control. I know that cancer researchers and participants in clinical trials have given me this opportunity for life that others before me did not have."
Video: Learn more about Gary’s story.