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Health disparities have persisted in cancer care despite extensive research and a decades-long mandate to eliminate them. There is a significant body of evidence documenting and explaining the role of socioeconomic, geographic, and cultural factors on negative health outcomes in specific populations. Many ...

Health disparities have persisted in cancer care despite extensive research and a decades-long mandate to eliminate them. There is a significant body of evidence documenting and explaining the role of socioeconomic, geographic, and cultural factors on negative health outcomes in specific populations. Many leading research and policy organizations have specifically identified rural cancer disparities as one of the important priorities for public health and social justice. While a number of international studies have identified factors contributing to the current geographic disparities in cancer care and proposed programs and demonstrations to address the problem, only a few healthcare organizations in a hand-full of countries have been able to successfully implement and scale up such programs.

The gap between what is known to optimize healthcare delivery and what is actually implemented in everyday practice remains one of the most important issues hindering the healthcare system and public health. Finding ways to enhance awareness and knowledge of useful and relevant information to help patients, providers and healthcare organizations make decisions (dissemination) and put them into practice (implementation) is essential to improving health care and health outcomes in rural communities.

Healthcare organizations and agencies in the public and private sectors spend billions of dollars on research and service delivery programs each year, yet patients and stakeholders often lack sufficient information to make decisions regarding the most effective treatment strategies for their particular condition that is available to them locally.

This Research Topic was created with a mission to tackle the core challenges for the provision of guideline-recommended cancer care to rural and medically underserved communities. The objective is to reveal some of the hidden underlying causes of unequal access to cancer care across geographic continuum and develop tailored interventions and strategies to mitigate these barriers. In essence, the Topic belongs to the interdisciplinary sciences of health services, implementation & dissemination, health equity, policy, economics and behavioral research. Issues such as health insurance, workforce shortages, financial toxicity, patient preferences and inequities in health care access may also be considered. Scientific contributions from global stakeholders including academia, industry, government and regulatory authorities are welcomed.

Keywords: Inequities, health care access, reimbursement and cost-containment strategies, stakeholder engagement, rural health, cancer care continuum.


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