State of Cancer Care in America: Achieving Cancer Health Equity Among Sexual and Gender Minority Communities

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



JCO oncology practice








In 2017, ASCO issued the position statement, Strategies for Reducing Cancer Health Disparities Among Sexual and Gender Minority Populations, outlining five areas of recommendations to address the needs of both sexual and gender minority (SGM, eg, LGBTQ+) populations affected by cancer and members of the oncology workforce who identify as SGM: (1) patient education and support; (2) workforce development and diversity; (3) quality improvement strategies; (4) policy solutions; and (5) research strategies. In 2019, ASCO convened the SGM Task Force to help actualize the recommendations of the 2017 position statement. The percentage of the US population who publicly identify as SGM has increased dramatically over the past few years. Although increased national interest in SGM health equity has accompanied a general interest in research, policy change, and education around diversity, equity, and inclusion, resulting from public concern over discrimination in health care against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, this has been accompanied by a surge in discriminatory legislation directly impacting the SGM community. Although much progress has been made in advancing SGM cancer health equity since 2017, more progress is needed to reduce disparities and advance equity. The five focus areas outlined in the 2017 ASCO position statement remain relevant, as we must continue to promote and advance equity in quality improvement, workforce development, patient care, research, and SGM-affirming policies. This article reports on the progress toward reducing SGM cancer disparities and achieving equity across these five areas and identifies future directions for the work that still remains.