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FCC pairs with health body in rural cancer support

The US Federal Communications Commission’s Connect2Health Task Force (C2HFCC) has announced that the FCC and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) have joined forces, signing a memorandum of understanding that will focus on how increasing broadband access and adoption in rural areas can improve the lives of rural cancer patients. As an inaugural project under the memorandum, the agencies have convened a public-private collaboration to help bridge the broadband health connectivity gap in Appalachia, taking a step toward closing the digital divide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans living in rural areas are still more likely to die of cancer than their counterparts in urban settings, which sets them apart from the many communities nationwide that have experienced a 20% decrease in cancer mortality over the past two decades. Initial analysis of broadband data and cancer data shows that these rural “cancer hotspots” also face major gaps in broadband access and adoption, often putting promising connected care solutions far out of reach. In Appalachia, the cancer picture is bleaker than in other rural parts of the country. Research from University of Virginia School of Medicine has shown that between 1969 and 2011, cancer incidence declined in every region of the country except rural Appalachia, and mortality rates soared. “The quality, length and even value of life should not be determined by where you happen to be born or live,” said Michele Ellison, chair of the ConnecTask Force. “And yet that’s exactly what’s happening. Nowhere is this more acutely felt than in the rural parts of our country. Too many rural Americans suffer with late cancer diagnoses, unrelenting symptoms, and inadequate access to care.” Read more

  • Monday, 18 December 2017

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