All Illinois Cancer Patients Deserve Access to Care

Read full resolution

We live in a groundbreaking era of cancer care innovation, but not all patients benefit equally. Too many people in Illinois can’t access the latest advancements in cancer care because of their means, insurance coverage, location, or socioeconomic status. This is one of the greatest barriers to reducing cancer deaths and contributes to cancer mortality rates in Illinois that are higher than the national average.

The Illinois Cancer Care is Different Coalition, founded by City of Hope, is committed to advocating for policies that remove barriers to life-saving cancer care.

The Need and Patient Burden

Illinois has higher cancer mortality rates than the national average for almost every major cancer type.1

In 2023, an estimated 23,380 patients in Illinois died of cancer related causes. That is about the seating capacity of the United Center.2

There will be 78,000 new cancer diagnoses in 2024 in Illinois2

Remarkable advances in cancer science, in areas such as genomics and precision medicine, are creating more effective treatments and better outcomes for patients affected by cancer. But there are significant disparities in access to these advanced treatments and cancer mortality rates based on race and socioeconomic status. Cancer patients have drastically different outcomes based on their ability to receive early diagnosis and access to the appropriate treatment, including advanced and sub-specialty care.

Illinois has dramatic racial disparities for cancer mortality rates.3
To cite just a few examples:

48%Black women in Illinois have a breast cancer mortality rate that is 48% higher than white women.
66%Black men in Illinois have a colorectal cancer mortality rate that is 66% higher than white men.
135%Black men in Illinois have a prostate cancer mortality rate that is 135% higher than white men.

Ensuring that Illinois residents can access advanced cancer centers offering the latest research and treatment for their specific cancer type would save lives and provide more equitable access to cancer care.

The Solution: IL Cancer Patients Bill of Rights

Addressing access disparities proactively is the first step on a path toward more equitable and effective cancer care for all Illinois residents.

The Illinois Cancer Patients Bill of Rights would declare that patients should be able to access the latest cancer research, treatments and expertise needed to beat their specific cancer type.

Following the successful passage of a Cancer Patients Bill of Rights in California, Illinois now has the opportunity to become the second state to take action on this critical issue impacting millions of Americans.

  1. Cancer patients have a right to access the latest research and treatments for their specific type of cancer at advanced cancer centers, including precision medicine and genomic therapies, regardless of their insurance or means.
  2. Cancer patients have a right to multidisciplinary supportive care while undergoing treatment, including care that addresses pain, emotional, and overall health needs.
  3. Cancer patients have a right to access emerging therapies through representative early- and late-stage clinical trials.
  4. Cancer patients have a right to expert-level cancer care available in their community, enabled through seamless partnerships between community providers and academic institutions.
  5. Cancer patients have a right to understand fully their diagnoses and be informed about treatment options in culturally appropriate and understandable languages.