President Joe Biden just relaunched the Cancer Moonshot project, this time with the goal of reducing the cancer death rate by 50% over the next 25 years.
Biden had launched this initiative in 2016, when he was vice president, after his 46-year-old son Beau died of a brain tumor.
With an initial budget of $1.8 billion, the first version of the Cancer Moonshot project aimed to achieve greater access to immunotherapies and improve treatment of childhood cancer within 5 years.
Now, the goal has changed: it is a long-term goal to reduce cancer deaths, with a strong focus on prevention, and also “improve the treatment experience of survivors,” indicates the document released by the White House.
Cancer statistics in the US
The American Cancer Society indicates that in 2021 there were about 1.9 million new cancer diagnoses and 608,570 deaths.
Diagnoses are almost evenly split between the genders, but in deaths, men beat women.
Cancer of the breast, prostate, lungs, colon and rectum are the ones with the most cases.
Cancer is a serious public health problem worldwide and is the second leading cause of death in the United States.
In 2020, diagnosis and treatment of cancer were hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, reduced access to care due to health care facility closures resulted in delays in diagnosis and treatment that can lead to a short-term decline in cancer incidence followed by an increase in disease in later life. advanced stage and ultimately to increased mortality.
However, this secondary consequence of the pandemic will take several years to quantify due to the delay in the dissemination of population-based surveillance data.
Cancer cases were already falling at a rate of 1% per year, due to the decline and restrictions on tobacco consumption.
With the relaunch of Cancer Moonshot, President Biden has set goals that experts consider “reasonable.”
How will you reach them? The White House document says that:
- Consolidating White House leadership and forming a Cancer Cabinet to coordinate actions across agencies, from the National Institutes of Health to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
- Restoring the screening access care network, after more than 9.5 million diagnostic tests were lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this way, cancer will be detected at an earlier stage, with more treatment options and better survival.
- Helping to ensure equitable access to screening and prevention through home screening (especially for colon cancer and HPV, the virus that causes cervical, head, neck, and other cancers) , mobile screening in communities without easy access to a clinic, through community health networks, which have been strengthened during the COVID-19 pandemic, and other ways to reduce barriers to cancer screening.
- The National Cancer Institute (NCI) will organize collective efforts with its cancer centers and other networks, such as the Community Cancer Research Network (NCORP), to offer new access points to compensate for the millions of cancer screenings delayed due to to the pandemic, with a focus on reaching those most at risk.
- Federal agencies, led by NCI, will develop a focused program to rapidly study and evaluate multiple cancer screening tests, as was done for the diagnosis of COVID-19, which could help detect cancers when there may be more effective treatment options. effective.
- The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is committed to accelerating efforts to nearly eliminate cervical cancer through HPV screening and vaccination, with a particular focus on reaching those most at risk.
The President’s Cancer Panel released a report called Closing Gaps in Cancer Screening that lays out recommendations focused on connecting people, communities and health systems to increase equity and access .