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The Latest on the Cancer ‘Moonshot’

Latest efforts focus on patient navigation, research, improving screenings

February 03, 2023

The Biden administration unveiled 13 new initiatives as part of its Cancer Moonshot program that focus on improving the patient experience and health outcomes.

The announcement comes a year after the administration announced the revival of the program, which aims to reduce the death rate from cancer by at least 50 percent during the next 25 years. It also seeks to improve the experience of people and families living with and surviving cancer.

“Early identification and early treatment are essential to meeting the president’s goal of slashing the cancer death rate,” said Health Resources and Services Administration Administrator Carole Johnson. “Yet, many families living in underserved communities face challenges in getting life-saving cancer screenings and treatment. We have to remove these obstacles and make it easier not only to get screened but to get connected to care.”

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Background:  Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the United States, with about 600,000 deaths annually. 
  • New initiatives:  The White House unveiled several new programs, such as a public-private partnership to bring clinical and patient navigation support to families facing childhood cancer; the launch of “CancerX” to improve cancer patient care coordination through new digital platforms; and a new online hub to increase cancer screenings in at-risk communities.
  • Areas of focus:  The initiative has identified five areas of focus, including closing screening gaps, addressing environmental exposure, decreasing preventable cancers, bringing cutting-edge research to patients and communities, and supporting patients and caregivers.
  • Improved metrics:  The overall cancer mortality rate continues to improve. A recent report indicated overall cancer mortality had dropped 33 percent since 1991, averting 3.8 million cancer deaths during that time.
  • Quotable:  “Today’s investment in health centers is another step towards reducing disparities in cancer screenings across races, ethnicities, genders, and incomes—which is essential to realizing the president’s goal of ending cancer as we know it,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. 

Additional information about the latest initiatives in the Cancer Moonshot program is available online.