Biden relaunches national initiative Cancer Moonshot to accelerate fight against cancer

President Joe Biden is relaunching a national campaign to accelerate the rate of progress against cancer, he announced Wednesday.

First launched in 2016, Cancer Moonshot aims to reduce the cancer death rate by at least half over the next 25 years. It will also aim to improve the experience of survivors or those fighting cancer. A Cancer Cabinet will be formed as part of the initiative. 

The announcement included a call to action to jump-start cancer screenings, more than 9.5 million of which have been delayed due to COVID-19. The administration has also set aside budgets for biomedical and health research through entities like the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health.

The initiative called for the expansion of resources including at-home screening, mobile units, clinical trials and therapeutics to reach underserved communities. A recent White House report laid out recommendations for closing gaps in cancer screening. 

Cancer is still a leading cause of death in the U.S. despite progress. While the pandemic has taken more than 800,000 American lives, cancer has taken an estimated 1.2 million lives in the same time frame.

“This is a presidential White House priority, period,” Biden said during an event Wednesday. 

Biden also stressed the importance of patient navigators and breaking down healthcare silos that lead to inequities. He encouraged cancer patients and their families to continue sharing critical data about their care and progress with physicians and researchers. 

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In a statement following Biden’s announcement, the Community Oncology Alliance stressed the importance of improving regular screenings, as they are “inextricably linked” to health disparities. The organization encouraged Biden to work with independent oncology practices, often in rural areas, for innovative solutions that already exist to address disparities. 

In a statement that followed Biden’s announcement, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America urged lawmakers to reject proposals that would impose government-mandated prices on medicines.

“Instead, let’s work together to advance solutions that will lower the cost of medicines for patients while fueling the innovation that continues to make incredible progress against cancer and other devastating diseases,” the statement said. 

Ahead of World Cancer Day this Friday, Sleep Number and the American Cancer Society announced a six-year partnership Wednesday to study the impact of sleep on cancer prevention and recovery and build out the first cancer-specific sleep guidelines for better outcomes. 

“We will utilize our 360 smart bed’s proprietary sleep data and sleep expertise, along with ACS’s tremendous body of research, to benefit cancer patients and survivors, and society at large,” said Shelly Ibach, Sleep Number’s president and CEO, in the announcement.