Geographically Underserved Areas

Despite advances in cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and survival, disparities in cancer outcomes continue to persist with increased mortality among people living in poverty. Populations in poverty—in particular high poverty and/or persistent poverty (definition and map of persistent poverty counties in the United States can be found at: are at an increased risk of cancer due to greater carcinogen exposure, low educational attainment, lack of adequate housing, challenges accessing food and food insecurity, and the lack of access to care. All these factors result in increased cancer incidence and delayed cancer diagnosis, treatment, and subsequently, lower rates of survival. In particular, people living in poverty have higher rates of cancers caused by occupational, recreational, or lifestyle exposures (e.g., colorectal, laryngeal, liver, lung) and by human papillomavirus infection (e.g., anal, cervical, oral). These issues are further exacerbated in areas lacking (or ineligible to qualify as HPSAs) health facilities designated by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) as HPSAs. However, these populations in the ‘geographically underserved areas’ have previously not been a significant component of cancer control research. Geographically underserved areas refers to (1) areas and populations with high and/or persistent poverty, or (2) areas and populations living with high and/or persistent poverty in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) or Frontier and Remote (FAR) area zip codes (definition and FAR codes can be found at:


Lists of geographically underserved areas eligible for research:

Last Updated
September 24, 2020