April 21, 2023

NIH Study Highlights Screenings as Opportunity to Achieve Cancer Moonshot Goals

President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot goal of reducing cancer death rates is the focus of a recent study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Cancer Institute (NCI). The study reviewed opportunities to prevent, detect and treat common cancers. These included increasing the use of prevention and early detection screening, reduction of disparities in use, and efforts to connect with hard-to-reach populations.

The American College of Radiology® (ACR®) was an early supporter of the Cancer Moonshot, meeting with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in spring 2022 as a resource for the nonpartisan effort. Ongoing dialogue with HHS resulted in the HHS secretary visiting an ACR-accredited mammography site in Nevada to stress the importance of regular breast cancer screening.

The NCI study found that substantial and rapid reductions in cancer mortality rates, averaging 2.7% per year, will be required to meet the Cancer Moonshot goal of a 50% reduction in overall age-standardized cancer mortality in the United States by 2047. The study focused on opportunities for lung, colorectal, pancreatic, breast, prostate and liver cancers, as these together contribute the largest number of cancer deaths in the United States. An increased uptake of colonoscopy, mammography and low-dose computed tomography use were specifically mentioned.

The publication of this study coincides with the recent release of the National Cancer Plan, a long-term, ambitious framework developed to support a national response to achieving the goals of the Cancer Moonshot, first launched in 2016 by then-Vice President Joe Biden to accelerate progress against cancer.

As part of the ACR’s Moonshot meetings with HHS staff, the College and its volunteers outlined ACR efforts to reduce cancer deaths among racial and ethnic minorities, rural and urban residents, and the under- and uninsured populations. Specifically, the ACR is working to make imaging research more inclusive of these groups, to ensure care improvements can be realized across populations and identify populations that may particularly benefit from certain screenings or treatments.

The ACR continues to monitor developments and progress with the Cancer Moonshot initiative and highlight the vitality of screening in the goals of the initiative.

For more information, contact Katie Grady, ACR Government Affairs Director.