On the one-year anniversary of the reignited Cancer Moonshot, the White House looked back on a year of progress and announced several public and private commitments to continue to work toward the initiative’s mission to, “End cancer as we know it today.” Among the commitments of the private and nonprofit sectors shared by the administration, the American Cancer Society and its advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), are highlighted for ongoing work across the enterprise to support the Moonshot’s five key priority areas: (1) close the screening gap, (2) understand and address environmental exposure, (3) decrease the impact of preventable cancers, (4) bring cutting-edge research through the pipeline to patients and communities, and (5) support patients and caregivers.
“The American Cancer Society and ACS CAN are well aligned with the Moonshot’s mission, and remain steadfast in our commitment to improve the lives of people with cancer and their families,” said Dr. Karen E. Knudsen, CEO of the American Cancer Society and ACS CAN. “The progress we’ve realized to date in understanding and achieving better outcomes for the more than 200 diseases known as cancer is inextricably linked to the collective investment and dedication of the government and the private sector working side by side.”
In direct response to the president’s call to mobilize resources to change the trajectory of cancer last year, the American Cancer Society stood with First Lady Jill Biden to launch the ACS National Breast Cancer Roundtable and ACS National Cervical Cancer Roundtable in October. Using an ’all-hands-on-deck approach,’ the roundtables convene scientists, the medical community, leading public health agencies, the private sector and community organizations to catalyze change and investment across the cancer continuum. Just weeks ago, ACS also announced a new Improving Mortality from Prostate Cancer Together (IMPACT) initiative to reduce death rates from prostate cancer in all demographics and disparities for Black men by 2035 through advocacy, patient support and research.
Additionally, this year, among our ongoing work across discovery, patient support and advocacy to change the trajectory of cancer as we know it, for everyone, ACS will participate in a first-of-its-kind public-private initiative launched by the National Cancer Institute to bring clinical and patient navigation support to families facing childhood cancer. The American Cancer Society is also partnering with the Richard M. Schulze Foundation to launch a challenge grant to raise funds for American Cancer Society Hope Lodges, ensuring those families who have to travel for cancer treatment have free lodging so they can focus on treatment. ACS CAN is joining a new coalition of diverse stakeholders to address barriers to health care faced by rural communities, including technology and infrastructure limitations.
Beyond the private commitments announced today, the White House also referenced a number of legislative and policy developments over the past year, including improved cancer care affordability thanks to out-of-pocket cost caps in Medicare Part D; the creation and funding of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) with $2.5B already appropriated, kickstarting the administration’s initiative to promote big ideas in innovation alongside the critical and ongoing basic research executed by the National Cancer Institute; passage and implementation of the PACT Act, with 1.5 million veterans having received screening for toxic exposure and a commitment by the Department of Veterans Affairs to expedite access to care and cancer claims linked to that exposure; and the Food and Drug Administration’s issuance of proposed rules prohibiting menthol cigarettes and all flavored cigars.
“The president’s ongoing commitment to shine a national spotlight on cancer and mobilize collective resources to address the disease is yielding tremendous dividends,” said Lisa Lacasse, president of ACS CAN. "We call on lawmakers and policymakers in Washington and every state across the country to continue to pick up the mantle and play an instrumental role in reducing cancer incidence and mortality through investment in research, promoting evidence-based prevention, including proven tobacco control; advancing innovation in cancer screening and early detection; and reducing barriers to affordable, comprehensive health care from prevention through survivorship."
The American Cancer Society recently released its 2023 Cancer Facts and Figures report, highlighting overall progress made, including an overall drop in cancer mortality of 33% since 1991, averting an estimated 3.8 million cancer deaths. Yet more work remains as it is projected that in 2023 there will be more than 1.9 million new cancer cases and more than 600,000 deaths from cancer in the United States. The report further highlighted ongoing disparities in cancer burden.
“The American Cancer Society and ACS CAN are poised and proud to continue to work shoulder to shoulder with the president, administration, Office of Science and Technology Policy leading the Cancer Moonshot initiative, and private partners across the cancer continuum to improve lives,” Knudsen said. “We remain focused on ensuring that progress realized in the fight against cancer benefits all communities.”
This story was published by American Cancer Society on February 2, 2023. It is republished with permission.