Science Says: Curing cancer for all

Reducing health disparities, increasing diversity in cancer treatment and research

A recording of the June 15 Science Says event

A panel of experts from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center gathered virtually on June 15 to discuss their approaches for reducing health disparities and increasing diversity in cancer treatment and research.

"There are real inequities in the delivery of cancer care and in the understanding of cancer in different population groups ... even in the hotbed of innovation here in Seattle," said Dr. Tom Lynch, Fred Hutch president and director and holder of the Raisbeck Endowed Chair.

The panel included Drs. Paul Buckley, Jeanne Chowning, Jason “Jay” Mendoza, Ulrike "Riki" Peters and Stephaun Wallace. Some of the takeaway ideas from the discussion:  

  • Diversity is "at the core of precision medicine, where we use genetic data to identify individuals who are at high risk to develop certain diseases like cancer," said Peters, holder of the Fred Hutch 40th Anniversary Endowed Chair. She and other Hutch researchers are also improving genetic risk prediction for cardiovascular disease.
  • Having cancer is difficult enough, but it can be even harder to be Black with cancer. The Office of Community Outreach & Engagement's health equity team is working to reduce cancer risk and racial bias to improve care.
  • Wallace shared community engagement strategies that he and other Hutch experts have successfully used with COVID-19 and HIV vaccine trials — and how they can inform cancer research.
  • The pandemic revealed the importance of a scientifically literate public and of fostering the next generation of scientists. Learn more about the Hutch's science education outreach programs and free resources on visit the Hutch's educational outreach website or contact

The next Science Says will be August 10 at 11 a.m. PDT, and the theme will be "Back to the future: Navigating work, school, and well-being in a world transformed by COVID-19." Register now and get a reminder in August.

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