Cancer and social justice: What’s advocacy got to do with it?

Andrea Knox, Joanne Crawford, Gabriella Wong Ken


Advocating for all people affected by cancer has been identified as a priority for CANO/ACIO in its 2021–2025 Strategic Plan (CANO/ACIO, 2022). Acknowledging the need to address social injustices and health inequities in cancer care for underserved and/or vulnerable populations, CANO/ACIO convened a national Underserved and Priority Population (UPP) Working Group to create guiding principles and actions related to CANO/ACIO’s activities. To support achieving its mandate, the working group hosted a workshop at the 2022 CANO/ACIO Annual Conference where members explored cancer as a social justice issue and the role of nursing advocacy as a tool for advancing social justice in oncology. Video case studies were used to facilitate large and small group discussion, which included an exploration of barriers to advocacy and mitigation strategies at the individual, interpersonal, and organizational levels. Findings from the workshop discussions and post-workshop reflection will be used to inform the ongoing work of the UPP Working Group, which includes creating actionable recommendations for CANO/ACIO’s advocacy activities. This work is an important step towards ensuring those affected by cancer have the resources and tools needed to access high-quality care at any point of their cancer journey.

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