The United States has a new framework “to end cancer as we know it,” as President Joe Biden put it. The National Cancer Plan, which centers on eight goals, was unveiled April 3 by the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health.
“The focus of the National Cancer Plan is to achieve a society where every person with cancer lives a full and active life and to prevent most cancers so that few people need to face this diagnosis,” states the plan’s website NationalCancerPlan.cancer.gov.
Imagine a ???? where most cancers can be prevented. #Every1HasARole in the #NationalCancerPlan to make that world a reality. Read the plan to learn what you can do to end cancer as we know it today. https://t.co/ybASLRX36F #CancerMoonshot pic.twitter.com/wULoLZMTcb— National Cancer Institute (@theNCI) April 3, 2023
The plan will serve as a road map toward reaching the goals envisioned by the Cancer Moonshot initiative, which aims to cut the cancer rate in half in the next 25 years and to render more cancers manageable chronic diseases rather than fatal illnesses. Biden launched the Cancer Moonshot in 2016 when he was vice president during the Obama administration. As president, Biden supercharged the federal program in early 2022. Both he and First Lady Jill Biden have been vocal supporters of the Moonshot, having lost their son Beau to brain cancer in 2015 when he was 46.
“Projects currently underway as part of Cancer Moonshot are featured through the plan and connected to other cancer research efforts,” clarifies the website, adding that “the plan considers the entire landscape of cancer in the United States and is a foundational effort to align the cancer research and care community in the fight against cancer. Just as the White House has invited people far and wide to share their stories and actions, so too will the National Cancer Institute (NCI) be calling on everyone to share what they are doing to meet the goals of the National Cancer Plan.”
The National Cancer Plan website explains: “People across the country and worldwide are counting on us to end cancer as we know it. Research alone will not accomplish this. To succeed, we must work together to develop strategies, share knowledge, and accelerate progress. The National Cancer Plan provides a comprehensive framework for this meaningful collaboration and unites us in acting on the vision President Biden and First Lady Biden set out in the Cancer Moonshot to end cancer as we know it.”
In addition, a 25-page PDF establishes the plan’s goals and strategies and background. For example:
Three Elements of the National Cancer Plan include:
- Eight goals that we must achieve to prevent cancer, reduce deaths from cancer, and ensure the best possible quality of life for people living with cancer
- A set of strategies associated with each goal, describing essential research and other activities needed to maximize benefits for everyone
- A call to action that is also at the center of the Cancer Moonshot: that everyone—every organization and individual—do their part to help end cancer as we know it.
Eight Goals of the National Cancer Plan Include:
1. Prevent Cancer
All people and society adopt proven strategies that reduce the risk of cancer.
2. Detect Cancers Early
Cancers are detected and treated at early stages, enabling more effective treatment and reducing morbidity and mortality.
3. Develop Effective Treatments
Effective treatment, with minimal side effects, is accessible to all people with all cancers, including those with rare cancers, metastatic cancers, and treatment-resistant disease.
4. Eliminate Inequities
Disparities in cancer risk factors, incidence, treatment side effects, and mortality are eliminated through equitable access to prevention, screening, treatment, and survivorship care.
5. Deliver Optimal Care
The health care system delivers to all people evidence-based, patient-centered care that prioritizes prevention, reduces cancer morbidity and mortality, and improves the lives of cancer survivors, including people living with cancer.
6. Engage Every Person
Every person with cancer or at risk for cancer has an opportunity to participate in research or otherwise contribute to the collective knowledge base, and barriers to their participation are eliminated.
7. Maximize Data Utility
Secure sharing of privacy-protected health data is standard practice throughout research, and researchers share and use available data to achieve rapid progress against cancer.
8. Optimize the Workforce
The cancer care and research workforce is diverse, reflects the communities served, and meets the needs of all people with cancer and those at risk for cancer, ensuring they live longer and healthier lives.