Today, the Biden Cancer Moonshot announced actions from across the Cancer Cabinet and the private sector, as well as employers and labor unions, to expand access to cancer screenings, prevent more cancers before they start, and drive new innovation to deliver the latest progress to patients, families, and communities across America to improve health outcomes. These latest actions close out the inaugural National Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Month, established as part of the Biden Cancer Moonshot, to increase awareness and utilization of critical cancer prevention, screening, and early detection to improve health outcomes for all Americans. In April, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Veterans Affairs announced significant steps to address toxic and environmental exposures and prevent cancer and detect cancer early, when outcomes are best. As President Biden stated in his proclamation of this inaugural month, “It is important for every American to know that cancer screenings are lifesaving—early detection can make all the difference in beating the disease.”

Nearly 10 million screenings in the U.S. were missed during the pandemic, risking later stage detection of cancer, worse outcomes, and deepening inequities.  The President and First Lady made cancer screenings a priority for the Biden Cancer Moonshot – and delivered public and private sector actions such as those being announced today and since 2022. Recent reports now indicate that cancer screenings are returning to pre-pandemic levels.  The Biden Cancer Moonshot will continue to take actions to ensure all Americans benefit from the tools we have to prevent, detect, and diagnose cancer.

Today’s announcements from the Cancer Cabinet include:

The Department of Energy (DOE) will enhance lung cancer screening for workers exposed to lung carcinogens. Beginning this spring, DOE will expand its lung cancer screening program to include former Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories workers who were exposed to radiation, asbestos, beryllium, and other carcinogenic metals and toxins. Annual low dose CT scans for eligible workers will be provided at local radiology facilities in New Mexico through the DOE-supported Worker Health Protection Program and at selected other DOE sites across the country.

The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Accelerating Cancer Screening (AxCS) Initiative is investing an additional $10 million to support the Alcee L. Hastings Program for Advanced Cancer Screening, bringing the total program investment to over $25 million in three years. Through the AxCS Initiative, HRSA-supported community health centers are leveraging community outreach and engagement resources of the NCI-designated Cancer Centers to increase access and address barriers to cancer screening and referral for abnormal screening results. As a result of this partnership, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute has funded the University of Virginia Cancer Center to support health centers and community agencies with cancer screening follow-up and treatment.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are increasing cancer and tobacco-use screening awareness through new CMS Innovation Center (CMMI) models. CMS announced three CMMI models in the last year that include cancer screening and tobacco screening/cessation measures, including Making Care Primary (MCP), Innovations in Behavioral Health (IBH), and States Advancing All-Payer Health Equity Approaches and Development (AHEAD). These models actively promote breast cancer screening, colorectal screening, and tobacco use screening and cessation intervention through their performance measurement frameworks.

CDC is finalizing a new resource to address health equity and environmental justice related to cancer patterns. These resources, which will be posted online and downloadable as a PDF, will address important actions for communities to evaluate cancer incidence and death rates in environmental justice areas and resource information to help impacted communities. Tools such as CDC/ATSDR’s Environmental Justice Index, developed in collaboration with HHS’ Office of Environmental Justice, can be used to identify communities with the greatest cumulative environmental injustices.

CDC’s Immunization Services Division has cooperative agreements with the American Cancer Society (ACS) to improve HPV vaccination rates and vaccine equity through education, quality improvement projects, and other collaborative activities. In coordination with health plans participating in their 2-year learning collaborative, ACS developed the ACS Health Plan Action Guide, due out in May 2024. The action guide will help health plans implement evidence-based interventions to improve HPV vaccination coverage among their enrolled adolescents.

The U.S. Fire Administration will step up on cancer screenings and PFAS-free bunker gear. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) is promoting better access to cancer screenings for all firefighters so cancer indicators can be discovered at the earliest possible exam. To protect firefighters from PFAS, the USFA and national fire service leaders are working with federal partners, standards-making organizations, and textile manufacturers to institute the next-generation PFAS-free bunker gear to mitigate this common exposure risk for the 1.2 million career and volunteer firefighters across the nation.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will explore radon gas exposure as a factor in lung cancer screening efforts for veterans.  Using county-level radon gas exposure data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the VA will begin by assessing the correlation between regional radon hot spots and lung cancer incidence among veterans. Radon gas exposure information may ultimately enable health care providers to connect at-risk veterans with lung cancer screening services.

VA is expanding delivery of high-quality, coordinated cancer care closer to veterans’ homes. By end of fiscal year 2025, VA will expand cancer treatment at VA clinics to an additional 30 sites—serving an additional 9,000 veterans each year—and extending services to provide the full continuum of cancer care from prevention and screening through treatment and surveillance. VA launched this service as a pilot in 2021 and has treated nearly 500 veterans at 20 VA locations, saving veterans undergoing cancer treatment and their caregivers over 200,000 traveled miles.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Mine Safety and Health Administration published a final rule this month to better protect miners from health hazards associated with exposure to respirable crystalline silica, also known as silica dust. Inhalation of respirable crystalline silica puts miners at risk of developing serious and irreversible diseases, such as lung cancer, silicosis, progressive massive fibrosis, chronic bronchitis, and kidney disease. DOL’s final rule will require proper engineering and administrative protections that will reduce silica dust exposure, prevent lung cancer and other illnesses, and improve miners’ health.

Additional new commitments from nongovernmental organizations:

DELFI Diagnostics will partner with the Indigenous PACT Foundation and OSF HealthCare Cancer Institute to advance lung cancer screening that could save tens of thousands of lives. DELFI will offer a blood-based lung cancer screening test this spring that seeks to increase lung cancer screening rates among those eligible, and particularly in underserved populations. Work with the Indigenous PACT Foundation to enhance lung cancer screening rates will emphasize incorporating cultural practices and promoting inclusivity, beginning with Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and other Tribes in the Pacific Northwest, with a goal of expanding the program to other Tribal Nations.

Gabbi, offering virtual breast health care, will expand early detection services in a dozen states including Florida, Texas, Illinois, Ohio, Virginia, Georgia, New York, and New Jersey. Gabbi democratizes access to early detection via telehealth so every person can understand their risk and get the right care at the right time. With an emphasis on risk assessment, Gabbi aspires to reach people of all ages and ethnicities, ensuring breast cancer is found at the earliest, lifesaving stages.
ACS will lead a nationwide effort to increase prostate cancer screening access through an initiative aimed at improving shared decision-making to reduce health disparities. ACS’s initiative connects 12 participating community health centers and the more than 40,000 patients they serve with national experts to share best practices, determine if prostate-cancer screening is advisable, and enhance capacity to find prostate cancer early when treatment is more likely to be successful.

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, ACS and Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) are collaborating on an initiative to improve cervical cancer screening through self-collected HPV testing. Despite vaccination and screening, there is growing evidence that cervical cancer incidence is rising in medically underserved populations. The program will expedite self-collection adoption in underserved communities that are supported by safety net clinics.

Guardant Health will step up with actions to advance colorectal cancer awareness and screening in vulnerable communities. Guardant will partner with the First Ladies Health Initiative, a faith-based organization, in Chicago and other U.S. cities to understand perceptions impacting colorectal cancer screening utilization in minority communities and produce a report of the findings with educational materials to increase screening awareness.  Additionally, in partnership with Ballad Health in Tennessee, Guardant will investigate how blood-based colorectal cancer screening can be integrated into and complement current screening at primary care sites in Appalachia, with publication of study results to highlight key learnings on patient acceptability of, and utilization of, CRC screening.

The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) will advance critical projects to increase follow-up colonoscopy rates, which remain unacceptably low among uninsured and underinsured populations. The ASGE Colorectal Cancer (CRC) Screening Project will begin targeted stool-based CRC screening in Georgia and Maryland as early as May 2024, and those with an abnormal test result will receive a timely follow-up colonoscopy. ASGE will use data from these pilot projects to develop a model that other states can use to increase the follow-up colonoscopy rate for underserved patients by the end of 2026.

Teen Cancer America will launch new series to educate 25,000+ readers about advances in prevention and early detection. Teen Cancer America (TCA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering teens and young adults with cancer through information and resources. As part of its weekly publication, “Breaking Cancer News,” TCA will launch a special weekly series called ‘Prevent and Detect’ about the latest advances in prevention and early detection, so that more communities can advocate for health improvement, cancer screening, and best early treatment options to improve outcomes and survival.


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