Many cancer clinical trials lack diversity, which has excluded many people of color from important research and medical developments. Cue Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), the entertainment industry organization that supports cancer research, and comedian Cedric the Entertainer, who have teamed up to change that.

The star of CBS’s The Neighborhood will appear in a new public service announcement (PSA) “designed to educate and encourage cancer patients to explore treatment options available through clinicals,” according to a press release.

It’s the third PSA from SU2C’s Health Equity Initiative, which aims to increase diversity in cancer clinical trials in the hope that all patients—regardless of race or ethnicity—will benefit equally from potential cancer treatments. The initiative also supports research to address differences in genetics, metabolism and physiology. 

Cedric the Entertainer’s personal call to action is inspired by his mother’s 2009 uterine cancer diagnosis. (He’s been a supporter of SU2C since 2018.)

“My mother’s cancer journey taught me about the value of advocating for yourself and knowing your options,” he said. “Participation in cancer clinical trials is extremely low in the Black community, and I am proud to work with Stand Up To Cancer and take action to address this important issue.”

One recent study found that African Americans overall remain vastly underrepresented in clinical trials. Another study reported that there is a significant lack of representation of men of color in prostate cancer clinical trials despite Black men being disproportionately affected by the disease.

In recent years, there have been more calls to action urging the federal government, scientists and academic institutions to run more racially and ethnically diverse clinical trials. Experts believe that a lack of diversity could mean that the research may not apply to some of those who may need the medications being investigated in such trials.

People of color, especially Black Americans, are also less likely to get involved in clinical trials due to a lack of trust of the medical system and socioeconomic factors.

“We’re honored Cedric the Entertainer has joined us to raise awareness about the importance and benefits of cancer clinical trials,” said SU2C’s CEO Sung Poblete, PhD, RN. “The incredible altruism of the entertainment community has helped us advance our goal of delivering more cutting-edge research and resources for cancer patients in diverse communities, who need our support now more than ever.”

For related coverage, read “First-of-Its-Kind Initiative to Increase Diversity in Cancer Clinical Trials” and “Is a Clinical Trial Right for You?