Strengthening resilience and adaptive capacity to disasters in cancer control plans: lessons learned from puerto rico

Ana P. Ortiz, William A. Calo, Pablo Mendez-Lazaro, Sandra García-Camacho, Ana Mercado-Casillas, Jessica Cabrera-Marquez, Guillermo Tortolero-Luna

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Patients with cancer are among the most vulnerable populations in the aftermath of a disaster. They are at higher risk of medical complications and death due to the collapse of or disruptions in the health care system, the community infrastructure, and the complexity of cancer care. The United Nations’ Sendai Framework for Disaster Reduction states that people with life-threatening and chronic diseases should be considered in disaster plans to manage their risks. With extreme weather or disasters becoming more intense and frequent and with the high burden of cancer in the United States and its territories, it is important to develop region-specific plans to mitigate the impact of these events on the cancer patient population. After Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2017, the need to develop and implement such plans for patients with cancer was evident. We describe ongoing efforts and opportunities for disseminating and implementing emergency response plans to maintain adequate cancer care for patients during and after disasters. While plans for patients with cancer should be housed within the emergency support function infrastructure of each jurisdiction, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Comprehensive Cancer Control Plans provide excellent community-centered mechanisms to support these efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1290-1293
Number of pages4
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology


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