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Personalizing Care for Patients of All Backgrounds

In oncology—as in all types of medicine—providers treat patients from all backgrounds with personal histories unique to each one. Recognizing and understanding patients’ personal characteristics such as culture, language, religion, financial status, education, lifestyle, and identity can be as important as clinical factors in choosing and customizing effective treatment plans. Cancer treatment regimens that do not take these variables into account can inadvertently perpetuate established disparities in cancer care and outcomes.

To best meet the individual needs of the diverse patient populations they serve, multidisciplinary cancer care teams must appreciate their patients’ distinct characteristics and personalize their care if they want to achieve optimal health outcomes. This begins with having an awareness of disparities in healthcare delivery, treatment, and outcomes, and cultivating a willingness to seek and mitigate past and current injustices in clinical practice.

According to information about health disparities cited by the National Cancer Institute:

  • Within all racial/ethnic groups, Black people have higher death rates for many cancer types.
  • Black women are more likely than White women to die of breast cancer.
  • People living in rural Appalachia have a higher incidence of colorectal, lung, and cervical cancer than people living in the region’s urban areas.
  • Regardless of race or ethnicity, people with more education are less likely to die prematurely from colorectal cancer than people with relatively less education.
  • While Hispanic and Black women experience cervical cancer more often than women in other racial/ethnic groups, Black women have the highest rates of cervical cancer death.

Executive Summary

Read about ACCC’s initiative to understand how well care teams identify and honor patient’s goals and preferences. Through comprehensive provider and patient surveys, ACCC examines current practices and gauges perceptions on health equity, healthcare injustice, and implicit bias in the community care setting. Findings from these surveys have guided the development of a suite of tools and resources that cancer care teams can use to personalize care around a patient’s unique identity and care goals.

Resource Library

ACCC has curated a comprehensive resource bank of nationally available publications, tools, videos, and other relevant assets to help multidisciplinary care teams identify and address implicit bias and healthcare injustice, as well as facilitate the personalization of care for patients. Access this collection of resources which explores key concepts related to health equity, health literacy, implicit bias, social determinants of health, vulnerable populations, language and cultural barriers, and culturally competent care.
Access Resource Library

Personalizing Care Infographic


Learn how to identify and honor patients’ goals and preferences through strategies that personalize care around a patient’s unique identity.  This downloadable infographic has been designed to help multidisciplinary care teams recognize healthcare injustice and offers tips and resources to better guide equitable care.

Video Series

Watch the Personalizing Care Video Series, a collection of 3 short videos (Beyond Labels: Personalize Care Conversations; Beyond Bias: Promote Equity in Care; and Beyond Barriers: Speak Clearly, Care Deeply) which portray real-world experiences observed in the community care setting. Created to help multidisciplinary care teams better understand how to personalize care, this video series explores and demonstrates best practices like gender-inclusive care, overcoming implicit bias, and clear communication.

For more information on this project, please contact the ACCC Provider Education department.

Our Partners

Virginia Mae King Foundation

The Latino Cancer Institute logo_250x76Cancer-Support-Community_Logo_250x50StupidCancerLogo_200x200

Our Supporter

Pfizer-200x80Funding and support provided by Pfizer Oncology.