Rural Cancer Control

Evidence has shown that rural communities in the United States face disadvantages compared with urban areas, including higher poverty rates, lower educational attainment, and lack of access to health services. Populations living in rural areas have higher average death rates for all cancer sites combined, compared to populations in urban counties. Additionally, rural counties have higher incidence and death rates for cancers associated with smoking (e.g., lung and laryngeal cancers) and higher rates of incidence of cancers that can be prevented by screening (i.e., colorectal and cervical cancers).

Some of the higher incidence and mortality rates for cancer can be attributed to barriers in accessing health services in rural areas. Research has also shown that some of these cancer disparities relate to financial barriers (e.g., no insurance or insufficient insurance coverage), transportation issues, and lack of preventive and screening services. There are also rural-urban differences in health behaviors that are associated with cancer, including higher rates of tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and obesity, and less physical activity, less-frequent adoption of sun safety measures, and lower HPV vaccination rates in rural compared to urban areas.

Currently, DCCPS has few funded projects focused specifically on rural populations. This long-standing public health challenge calls for sustained support for research along the entire cancer control continuum. We also need to better understand the various definitions of the term “rural” and their uses in health research – and specifically for cancer control. Focused research initiatives would provide the groundwork to develop and implement cancer control programs that are sustainable in these communities across the United States. In recognition of this need and to inform NCI’s efforts to better address cancer disparities in rural communities, DCCPS staff are working closely with our agency partners and a wide variety of experts to analyze the current evidence and scale up our research efforts in rural cancer control.

Research Centers/Funded Sites

Name Address Rural Cancer Control
FY 2018 FY 2019
Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine 660 S. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, MO 63110 Check Mark Check Mark
Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute at Wayne State University 4100 John R, Detroit, MI 48201 Check Mark  
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center 1100 Fairview Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98109   Check Mark
Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center - University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center 2201 Inwood Road, Dallas, TX 75390   Check Mark
Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at The University of Iowa 200 Hawkins Drive, Iowa City, Iowa 52242 Check Mark Check Mark
Huntsman Cancer Institute 2000 Circle of Hope, Salt Lake City, UT 84103 Check Mark Check Mark
Mayo Clinic Cancer Center 200 First St. SW, Rochester, MN 55905 Check Mark  
Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock One Medical Center Drive, Lebanon, NH 03756 Check Mark Check Mark
Oregon Health & Science University Knight Cancer Institute 3181 S.W. Sam Jackson Park Road, Portland, OR 97239   Check Mark
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center Elm & Carlton Streets, Buffalo, NY 14263 Check Mark Check Mark
Stephenson Cancer Center at The University of Oklahoma 800 NE 10th St., Oklahoma City, OK 73104 Check Mark Check Mark
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center 650 Ackerman Road, Columbus, OH 43202 Check Mark Check Mark
University of Alabama, Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center 1824 Sixth Ave. South, Birmingham, AL 35294 Check Mark Check Mark
University of California-Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center 4501 X St., Sacramento, CA 95817 Check Mark Check Mark
University of Kentucky, Markey Cancer Center 800 Rose St., Lexington, KY 40536 Check Mark Check Mark
University of North Carolina, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center 450 West Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27599 Check Mark Check Mark
University of Arizona Cancer Center 1515 N. Campbell Ave., Tucson, AZ 85724 Check Mark  
University of Colorado Cancer Center 13001 E. 17th Place, Aurora, CO 80045   Check Mark
University of Kansas Cancer Center 3901 Rainbow Blvd., Kansas City, KS 66160 Check Mark  
University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center 1500 E. Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 Check Mark  
University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center 1201 Camino de Salud NE, Albuquerque, NM 87131 Check Mark  
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center 1515 Holcombe Blvd., Unit 91, Houston, TX 77030   Check Mark
University of Virginia Cancer Center 6171 West Complex, Charlottesville, VA 22908 Check Mark  
University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center 1111 Highland Ave., Madison, WI 53705 Check Mark Check Mark
University of Southern California, Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center 1441 Eastlake Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90089   Check Mark
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center 691 Preston Research Building, Nashville, TN 37232 Check Mark Check Mark
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Comprehensive Cancer Center 1 Medical Center Blvd., Winston-Salem, NC 27157 Check Mark Check Mark


Research Opportunities

Funded Research



Selected Government-Supported Publications


Past Events

Upcoming Events

Canceled, due to COVID-19: April 16-17, 2020: Intervention Research to Improve Native American Health (IRINAH) Annual Meeting, NIH Main Campus (Natcher Building) in Bethesda, MD.
The goal of this meeting is to discuss what has been discovered and learned after 10 years of IRINAH, including successes, challenges, and ways culture is critical to intervention science for the improvement of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian health.

August 3-4, 2020: Advancing Rural Cancer Prevention and Control in the Next Decade, Siteman Cancer Center, St. Louis, MO


Last Updated
May 05, 2022