The Federal Communications Commission and the National Cancer Institute have joined forces to increase broadband access in rural areas in hopes of improving lives of cancer patients there. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans living in rural areas are still more likely to die of cancer than their counterparts in urban settings.
Initial analysis of broadband and cancer data show these rural “cancer hotspots” also face major gaps in broadband access. This limits care and solutions for rural patients.
The FCC announced their organization and the National Cancer Institute launched a new, public-private collaboration to help bridge the broadband health connectivity gap in Appalachia.
Research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine has shown that between 1969 and 2011, cancer incidence declined in every region of the country except rural Appalachia, where mortality rates instead have soared.
The project, titled L.A.U.N.C.H. (Linking & Amplifying User-Centered Networks through Connected Health): A Demonstration of Broadband-Enabled Health for Rural Populations in Appalachia, will target areas that face the dual challenge of higher cancer mortality rates and lower levels of broadband access. The initial geographic focus targets rural Kentucky.