UNC project collaborating with Fayetteville community to address cancer disparities

Input sought from Fayetteville’s African-American and Latino communities

Chapel Hill and Fayetteville, NC - A new project is hoping to tackle cancer health disparities in North Carolina by investigating how cancer prevention and health promotion activities can be more efficiently and effectively delivered in a variety of traditional and less conventional community settings where community members live, work, play, attend worship services, and socialize.

Researchers from UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health are working with members of the Cumberland County Community Against Cancer Advisory Board to identify and then interview leaders of organizations such as churches, grocery stores, schools/universities, barbershops/beauty salons, and other locations that community members frequent on a regular basis. The interviews will reveal a profile of who visits these locations, how often they visit, and identify opportunities for sharing life saving cancer prevention information and services in these settings.

“We know that in Cumberland County, like most counties in our state, the African-American community has higher rates of many types of cancer, and will die from cancer at higher rates as well.  And, the Latino community experiences many obstacles to having access to lifesaving cancer prevention and detection services,” says Laura Linnan, ScD, CHES, Co-Principal Investigator of this study.  “This study will allow us to identify the most effective and efficient way to reach community members by building a partnership that will last.”

“We know that the people in this community are the experts at helping us find the best ways to reach their friends and neighbors,” adds project Co-Principal Investigator  Bryan Weiner, PhD, “We are so pleased the Cumberland County Community Against Cancer Advisory Board has come together to work with us to address these cancer disparities by helping us improve how and where cancer prevention interventions take place.”


Cancer is the leading cause of death in North Carolina.  The good news is that more than 50% of cancer deaths can be prevented by lifestyle changes.  African-American men die of cancer at a rate 36 percent higher than whites and the death rate for African-American women is 16 percent higher than their white counterparts. Latinas die of cervical cancer at more than twice the rate of white women, and often cancers in Latino men and women go undetected due to obstacles in receiving cancer prevention and early detection services.


This is one of the first six projects funded by the Health E NC (Health for Everyone in North Carolina) grants program.  The program provides pilot funding in support of the University Cancer Research Fund’s strategic goal of optimizing cancer outcomes in North Carolina.

Projects were selected through a competitive review process that included a national group of experts.  Projects were prioritized for funding that emphasize breakthrough innovation and excellence in behavioral research; collaborative, cross-disciplinary approaches; potential for generating additional external funding from peer-reviewed sources; and real and tangible impact on the health of North Carolinians.  The projects focus on areas of the state where cancers, and in particular breast, lung and colorectal cancers, are common and place a burden on the health of North Carolinians.

Contact: Sandra Diehl, 910-763-3372, diehl@email.unc.eduAn icon indicating that a link will launch an email program.