Director's Message: National Black Family Cancer Awareness Week

Today marks the beginning of National Black Family Cancer Awareness Week, through Wednesday, June 23. Led by the US Food and Drug Administration, Oncology Center of Excellence, Project Community, the community-based initiative aims to raise cancer awareness and encourage people to know their family cancer history. The week coincides with Juneteenth, celebrated annually on June 19.

The initiation of National Black Family Cancer Awareness Week is in accordance with the January 20, 2021, Presidential Executive Order, “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, Section 8,” and in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the 1971 National Cancer Act, legislation that gave new authority to the National Cancer Institute and established programs that support cancer research efforts across the country today.

In recognition of National Black Family Cancer Awareness Week, the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and our Community Advisory board have joined with the following groups to connect our local community from this week forward:

  • Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute
  • University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center
  • MetroHealth Cancer Center
  • Cleveland Department of Health
  • Hospice of the Western Reserve
  • LGBT Community Center Greater Cleveland
  • Minority Women with Breast Cancer Uniting
  • National Council of Negro Women Cleveland
  • National Coalition of 100 Black Women Cleveland
  • Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition
  • The Gathering Place

Together, we will build knowledge surrounding cancer clinical trial participation, emphasize the importance of regular screenings, encourage wellness activities known to decrease overall cancer risk, and invite the community to discuss their family cancer history. Follow posts for the national initiative with #BlackFamCan and posts from the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and our community partners with #BlackFamCanNEO.

We are also hosting a virtual event for the public, “Clinical Trials and the African American Community” on Tuesday, June 29. This panel discussion will be an opportunity for individuals from the community to dialogue with physicians and individuals who have participated in clinical trials. Our experts will explain how clinical trials work and address myths about clinical research. Learn more and register for the event at

I hope each of you will participate in this campaign by helping share these important messages with your network and attend our public forum.

Stan Gerson, MD
Director, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center