Today, Jennifer Klein, Assistant to the President and Director of the Gender Policy Council, and Danielle Carnival, Coordinator of the White House Cancer Moonshot, were joined by medical experts, researchers, and patient advocates to discuss opportunities and challenges in combatting cervical cancer through immunizations, screening, and treatment and to mark Cervical Health Awareness Month. Participants included cervical cancer survivors, primary care physicians, specialists, and representatives from the National Cancer Institute. White House staff from the Office of the First Lady, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Domestic Policy Council also participated.
Participants discussed the need to expand access to immunizations, increase cervical cancer screening rates, and close disparities in screening and treatment—both nationally and around the world. Doing so is especially critical to address lower screening rates and higher cancer mortality among people of color and individuals who are low-income or living in rural areas—all of whom experience disproportionately high cervical cancer mortality—as well as LGBTQI+ people, for whom cancer mortality data are not systematically collected. Recommendations included strengthening the health care workforce, improving screening tests, and raising awareness about cervical cancer-related vaccination and screening. Participants also underscored the impact that vaccines have had in reducing the incidence of cervical cancer, the importance of innovation in solving women’s health challenges, and the need for continued investments in cervical cancer research.
The Biden-Harris Administration is working to address these challenges in a number of ways. Nearly one year ago, the President and First Lady reignited the Cancer Moonshot, setting ambitious goals to half the death rate from cancer and to improve the lives of people living with and surviving cancer. The President and First Lady Jill Biden called on stakeholders to ensure equitable access to the tools we have to prevent, detect, and diagnose cancer—including at-home and mobile screening options for cervical cancer. As part of the Cancer Moonshot, the Department of Health and Human Services committed to accelerating efforts to reduce cervical cancer through screening and vaccination, especially for those most at risk.
The Administration has also expanded access to affordable, high-quality health insurance that covers a comprehensive set of preventive services, including immunizations and cervical cancer screening, under the Affordable Care Act. More Americans than ever before have signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act thanks to lower rates originally delivered as part of the American Rescue Plan Act and that were extended by the Inflation Reduction Act. In the meeting, participants commended the Biden-Harris Administration on their efforts to help combat cervical cancer and increase access to prevention and screening.