Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Addressing systemic racism as the cancer of Black people: equity ethic-driven research

Black people have the highest cancer rates in the USA owing to systemic racism — biased systems that put pressure on Black lives every day. STEM scholars have a responsibility to reduce the historical trauma associated with systemic racism. This also means challenging systemic racism within STEM fields.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1.

    American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures for African Americans 2019–2021. (2019).

  2. 2.

    Beech, P. What is Environmental Racism? World Economic Forum (2020).

  3. 3.

    American Lung Association. Disparities in the Impact of Air Pollution. (2020).

  4. 4.

    McGee, E. O. Black, Brown, Bruised: How Racialized STEM Education Stifles Innovation (Harvard Education Press, 2020).

  5. 5.

    McGee, E. O. Equity Ethic: As STEM Fields Become More Racially Diverse, New Values Emerge. Voices in Education (2020).

  6. 6.

    Pak, C. Apologies Alone Won’t Solve Structural Racism: We Need a Reckoning with the Racist Roots of U.S. Medicine. Medical Humanities (2021).

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ebony O. McGee.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The author declares no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

McGee, E.O. Addressing systemic racism as the cancer of Black people: equity ethic-driven research. Nat Rev Cancer 21, 477–478 (2021).

Download citation


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing