Home / Appalachian Community Cancer Alliance

Appalachian Community Cancer Alliance

The region known as Appalachia stretches across a large geographical area in the U.S., including all of West Virginia and parts of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. The 250,000 square miles that make up the Appalachian region encompass both rural counties and metropolitan areas, and it is home to 25.7 million people. Of Appalachia’s 420 counties, 25 percent are rural.

The poverty and lack of healthcare resources that characterize Appalachia have led to sustained, elevated levels of morbidity and mortality for many diseases when compared to other regions in the U.S. For example, according to a 2020 report by the Appalachia Regional Commission, Creating a Culture of Health in Appalachia, the region’s cancer mortality rate is 10 percent higher than the national cancer mortality rate; in the region’s rural counties, it is 15 percent higher.

Central Appalachia has the highest cancer rate in the region at 32 percent higher than the national rate. Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, and West Virginia have the highest state-level cancer mortality rates. The Appalachian portions of those states all exceed 190 cases per 100,000 people, well above the national average of 168 cases per 100,000 people. Appalachian Kentucky’s rate of 227 cases per 100,000 people exceeds the national average by 35 percent.

Through this project, TOPS—together with ACCC—will work with community oncology practitioners to identify and address challenges to providing cancer care to rural Appalachian communities by:

  • Soliciting providers’ perceptions regarding equity in access to cancer care
  • Helping community cancer centers introduce patient-centric approaches to implementing guideline-concordant cancer screening among rural Appalachian communities
  • Developing interventions to promote screening efforts
  • Implementing patient-centered communication strategies to overcome informational barriers between providers and patients
  • Discussing implementing cancer clinicals within treatment plans for patients in rural Appalachian communities
  • Enhancing quality of life and survivorship of cancer patients in rural Appalachia

If you have any questions, please contact Ashley Lile, Program Manager, ACCC Provider Education.

Rural Appalachian Lung Cancer Screening Initiative

To guide this multi-phase initiative, ACCC will convene an Advisory Committee of ACCC and Oncology State Society stakeholders, ASCO leaders, LUNGevity and GO2Foundation patient advocacy representatives, public health experts from the Appalachian region, and lung cancer screening program navigator(s) to:

  • Identify and address challenges in implementing lung cancer screening programs in rural Appalachian communities
  • Implement innovative approaches to increase guideline-concordant lung cancer screening among rural Appalachian communities
  • Assess patient-centered screening education communication strategies to overcome informational, literacy, and cultural barriers

Success will be measured by changes in provider attitudes and self-reported changes in behavior, as well as patient-reported outcomes related to:

  • Identification of specific gaps and barriers to lung cancer screening among underserved populations living in rural communities in the Appalachian region.
  • Development and launch of pilot initiatives to implement guideline-concordant lung cancer screening for these underserved patients
  • Dissemination of the best practices identified from this initiative to the larger oncology community.

News & Media

FACT SHEET: Private Sector Steps Up on Cancer Moonshot Call to Action on Cancer Screening
The White House News Release, May 11, 2022

Our Supporters

The Appalachian Community Cancer Alliance is made possible by support from Bristol Myers Squibb.


The Rural Appalachian Lung Cancer Screening Initiative is made possible by support from AstraZeneca.

Our Partners

logo-ACCC-200x80SCOS-seal-120x116 VAHO-logo-200x90TOPS-logo-200x90Kentucky Society of Clinical Oncology Logo NCOA-newlogo-220x100