The White House announces private sector commitments in response to the call to action from President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden on cancer screening. These new actions and collaborations mark progress toward the Cancer Moonshot goal to decrease the death rate from cancer by at least 50 percent over the next 25 years.
Just under 100 days ago, President Biden reignited the Cancer Moonshot with renewed White House leadership and new ambitious goals: to reduce the death rate from cancer by at least 50 percent over the next 25 years, and improve the experience of people and their families living with and surviving cancer – and, by doing this and more, end cancer as we know it today.
In March, in his first State of the Union Address, President Biden highlighted the Cancer Moonshot as part of his Unity Agenda for the nation. The White House convened the Cancer Cabinet to establish a prioritized agenda across government including the development of new interagency programs and collaborations and announced initial steps for the Cancer Moonshot.
Last week, Cancer Cabinet agencies and departments hosted a virtual series of 10 roundtable discussions, Cancer Moonshot Community Conversations, to inform and advance Cancer Moonshot priorities and the White House released a new webpage featuring the stories of people living with cancer, survivors, and caregivers.
Today, leaders from the patient and caregiver community, foundations, non-profits, companies, health care providers, and others will come together at the White House and virtually to strategize how we can each act to make progress on the seven pillars of how we know cancer today. The goal is to identify impactful steps to: (1) improve cancer screening; (2) enhance prevention; (3) address inequities; (4) target effective treatments to patients; (5) develop approaches for deadly and rare cancers, including childhood cancers; (6) support patients, survivors, and caregivers; and (7) learn more from people living with cancer.
As part of the reignited Cancer Moonshot, the President and First Lady announced a call to action on cancer screening to jumpstart progress on the nearly 10 million screenings in the United States that were missed as a result of the pandemic, and to work to ensure that all Americans equitably benefit from the tools we have to prevent, detect, and diagnose cancer. The following announcements comprise an initial response to that call to action.
For example, this includes efforts to reduce disparities in access to cancer screening by bringing: high-quality care to New York City’s Harlem, Washington, DC, and three other cities; mobile lung cancer screening to communities in Appalachia and rural parts of Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama; support from screening through care to women in South Florida; and bilingual navigation services to reach Latinas in Baltimore and Washington, DC. These commitments also include business leaders around Columbus, Ohio committing to support employees with the time and resources needed to get their recommended cancer screenings and national efforts that will reach communities from coast to coast with knowledge, support, and access to cancer early detection.
To add your story, ideas, or new actions and collaborations, engage with us at: whitehouse.gov/cancermoonshot.
Private sector actions in response to cancer screening call to action:
Bringing Cancer Screening to More Communities
- The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) and AstraZeneca Join Efforts to Create the “Rural Appalachian Lung Cancer Screening Initiative.” The ACCC and AstraZeneca are launching a new partnership to develop and implement person-centered and sustainable approaches to increase lung cancer screening in rural America through the “Rural Appalachian Lung Cancer Screening Initiative.” As part of an initial $1.3 million investment, the Initiative will collect best practices and develop screening resources that will be shared with ACCC pilot sites with the potential to engage up to 30 percent more eligible individuals in the first five years. Upon project completion, data will be shared with all 2,100 ACCC cancer programs and practices nationwide. The United States has made great strides in reducing lung cancer incidence and mortality over the last five years. In Appalachia, however, driven, in part, by increased rates of tobacco use, cancer mortality is 10 percent higher than the national rate and, for rural Appalachian counties, cancer mortality is 15 percent higher than the region’s metro counties.
ACCC will build on its portfolio of resources and tools for health care providers, including “Fostering Excellence in Care and Outcomes in Patients with Stage III and IV NSCLC,” “Improving Care Coordination: A Model for Lung Cancer Patients on Medicaid,” and “Understanding & Improving Lung Cancer Treatment in Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders in the Community Setting.” AstraZeneca convened the Lung Ambition Alliance (LAA) in 2019 with key partners, and is focused on accelerating advances in lung cancer survival and improving patient outcomes, with the goal of eliminating lung cancer as a cause of death. The LAA’s initial goal is to double the five-year survival rate for lung cancer.
- Nonprofits Family Reach and Nueva Vida Collaborate to Provide Community Navigation and Financial Support for Latinas Facing Breast Cancer: Nueva Vida, a support network for Latinas with — or at risk of — cancer, is partnering with Family Reach, a national nonprofit removing financial barriers to cancer treatment, to provide continuous support to 800 additional Latinas in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore metro areas during breast cancer screening and treatment. Latinas face unique and increasing challenges accessing and adhering to breast cancer screening and treatment due to psychosocial, logistical, financial, and systemic barriers.
Nueva Vida addresses the unmet needs of Latinas through free culturally-competent services. Bilingual/bicultural patient navigators attend appointments to ensure timely delivery of diagnostic and treatment services, provide language and clinical interpretation, and facilitate financial support for medications and basic needs. Their Navigators build trusting, long-term relationships with clients to ensure critical needs are met and that patients can effectively plan for and adhere to treatment.
Family Reach offers comprehensive financial services that reduce patients’ financial distress and improve access to care during treatment, regardless of immigration status. Nueva Vida’s Navigators will leverage Family Reach’s Financial Treatment Program to deliver financial tools that meet the unique needs of each family, ensuring they can both stay on treatment and keep their families housed and fed.
- GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer Expands Mobile Screening to At-Risk Communities: The GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer, in partnership with Catholic Health Initiatives Memorial, Chattanooga, Tennessee, a GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer Center of Excellence (COE), and with support from AstraZeneca, Bristol Myers Squibb, Merck, and a private funder, is bringing lung cancer screenings to at-risk, rural residents across southeast Tennessee and northern Georgia. The Breathe Easy mobile screening program currently provides more than 1,000 lung cancer screenings annually, primarily to those who are uninsured and those with public insurance. Expansion of the Breathe Easy program will extend mobile lung cancer screening further south in Georgia and into Alabama where, in part, due to higher than the national average rates of tobacco use, there are over 20,000 individuals at risk for lung cancer and eligible for lung cancer screening but currently without ready access to these services. An initial $1 million investment supporting the launch of this new mobile screening unit is estimated to provide services for 10 years, screening as many as 3,000 people per year.
- Promise Fund of Florida Doubles Down on Model to Improve Women’s Health:
The Promise Fund of Florida plans to double its reach in 2022 – to serve more than 30,000 women – with a Continuum of Care model that supports women in South Florida from screening through care for breast and cervical cancer. The Promise Fund of Florida co-locates a Women’s Health Center offering mammography and ultrasound services at a federally-qualified health center. In one example, FoundCare in West Palm Beach, this approach in partnership with Hologic led to screening rates jumping from 10% to 57%, demonstrating that women are more likely to obtain screenings when they are familiar with their provider organization, have been connected to financial assistance by a navigator, and are able to receive multiple services in one day, which reduces the associated barriers of having to secure rides to appointments and requesting additional time off from work.
- Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation (RLCF) Commits $25 million to Improve Equity in Cancer Prevention, Screening, and Care. In its single largest funding commitment to date, the RLCF is pledging $25 million to five cancer care and prevention programs benefiting Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, and three yet-to-be-named additional National Cancer Institute-designated centers focused on reducing disparities in cancer care in underserved communities. The programs will provide increased screenings, early diagnosis, and treatment and patient navigation services, while improving access to high-quality care for those most in need.
As part of its commitment, the RLCF will build on its support of the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Ralph Lauren Center in Harlem, New York. In Washington D.C., the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center will newly establish the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Prevention. The renamed and reimagined center will build on the existing practices of the Capital Breast Care Center and expand access to diagnostic and navigation services for the District’s most underserved populations, focusing on breast, colorectal, lung, and prostate cancer, the area’s four most prevalent types of cancers. Going forward, RLCF will collaborate with Conquer Cancer®, the ASCO Foundation, to identify three additional grant recipients selected based on their National Cancer Institute-designation and demonstrated commitment to overcoming health disparities for communities in need.
Expanding Messaging and Support for Cancer Early Detection
- American Cancer Society (ACS) Launches National Platforms on Cervical and Breast Cancer: ACS will initiate two new national roundtables in 2022 – one focused on cervical cancer, the other on breast cancer – to bring together leading organizations and experts to drive progress and improve the lives of people living with cancer as well as their families. ACS has established this convening model as an effective structure for collaboration and impact and this approach aligns with the President’s Cancer Panel recently-released report on cancer screening. ACS is also pursuing several additional initiatives aimed at ensuring greater equity in cancer screening and early detection, including launching a learning collaborative with six community health centers across the country to address medical mistrust related to colorectal cancer screening. Finally, ACS’s advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), will advocate for robust and sustained funding for breast and cervical cancer early detection programs at the state and federal level to ensure those who are uninsured and underinsured have access to potentially lifesaving screenings and treatment once cancer is detected.
- Cancer Support Community (CSC) Creates Pledge and Resources to Promote Urgency Around Cancer Screening. CSC is launching a new social media campaign to encourage people to take a pledge to prioritize getting cancer screening and urging their friends and family to do the same. They expect to reach more than 150,000 people through email and social media efforts and expect thousands to come to the landing page to support the pledge and/or become more informed about screenings. CSC will provide resources to help people learn more about which routine screenings are currently available and recommended. Additionally, since anxiety and depression are not only common in people impacted by cancer, but often prevents people from even seeking cancer screening, these resources will include support and navigation services provided along the entire cancer continuum, from before screening, to waiting for test results, and through diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship. This will include a toll-free Cancer Support Helpline and a network of 175 locations across the United States, including CSC and Gilda’s Club centers, in addition to healthcare partnerships.
- Coalition of Companies Step Up to Help Employees Access Recommended Cancer Screenings: Pelotonia, a non-profit cancer research organization and The Columbus Partnership, a membership organization that convenes CEOs from some of Central Ohio’s largest employers around opportunities to advance economic development and prosperity, are committed to developing a platform whereby employers access and adopt recommended cancer health education and screening materials to better the health of their workforces – an effort that will initially reach more than 250,000 employees. These employers will distribute cancer prevention and screening education materials, host on-site screening opportunities, and offer flexible time off to ensure their employees can take part in recommended cancer screenings, as a commitment to the health of their workforce.
- Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC) Leads Renewed Push for Improved Screening Access at No Cost to Patient: Fight CRC will build on the Administration’s recent guidance to commercial insurance plans that they must cover colonoscopy without out-of-pocket costs following an abnormal non-invasive colorectal cancer screening test. Fight CRC is working through its Catalyst State-by-State Advocacy Program to build on its state-level policy work to remove cost barriers to screening and help ensure that the Administration’s guidance is effectively and equitably implemented.
Additionally, Fight CRC launched its Path to a Cure report, a professional, multidisciplinary publication, which seeks to summarize and communicate a plan for the colorectal cancer community to rally around: pushing forward critical areas of research; care for patients; and policy, with prevention and early detection as priority areas. Through convening key stakeholders, identifying gaps and opportunities in both research and public policy, Fight CRC is committing to identifying and implementing strategies to increase access to colorectal cancer screening in all communities as part of its Path to a Cure.
- Cancer Stage Shifting Initiative Launched by the National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) to Reach Millions: NMQF is announcing a multi-sponsored Cancer Stage Shifting Initiative (CSSI) guided by a board of scientific and community thought leaders. CSSI’s mission is to move from late stage to early-stage diagnosis and treatment of cancer in minority populations, with a special, but not exclusive, focus on people living with colorectal cancer. NMQF expects to reach an audience of more than 11 million patients, clinicians and other stakeholders monthly through its collaborations in advocacy and policy, social media communication, clinical research in underserved communities, representative data and quality improvement and community engagement. The initiative will have a clear focus on equity and is expected to improve cancer care for all. Stage shifting will require system changes brought on by a coordinated effort that involves patients, caregivers, families and all stakeholders in the oncology community and beyond, advocating for, educating and communicating about earlier detection and treatment of cancer among underserved populations.
- Philips and RadNet Partner to Improve Cancer Screening Reach and Accuracy: Philips, a global leader in health technology, and RadNet, the largest owner of outpatient imaging centers in the United States, are collaborating to deploy and develop new solutions that can improve the early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. RadNet will be using Philips solutions for workflow management and patient engagement in their lung cancer screening programs to increase the impact of patient outreach efforts, efficiently scale lung cancer screening workflow and programs, and get more at-risk people screened for lung cancer. Moreover, RadNet is using Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled technologies to improve detection and characterization of cancer at earlier stages, preventing false positive findings and reducing unnecessary patient burden, which can lead to better outcomes. Through RadNet’s network of imaging centers and educational outreach programs reaching 15 million Americans each year, many of whom are located in densely-populated, ethnically-diverse communities with at-risk populations, Philips and RadNet are striving for improved education, earlier detection, and more engaged participants, which could yield improved cancer outcomes for all Americans.