Access to advanced screening technologies is an essential step to ending disparities in
cancer outcomes for communities of color
New online resource launched to spur policy action on early detection tools
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, health equity organizations, led by the National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF), urged Congressional leaders to support the Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act (S. 1873 / H.R. 1946). By authorizing the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to evaluate and cover blood-based multi-cancer early detection (MCED) tests, as well as future test methods, once they are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the bill will help to alleviate the disproportionate burden of late-stage cancer experienced by communities of color.
The letter was signed by the following organizations: Alliance for Aging Research, American Muslim Health Professionals, Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC), Cancer Support Community, GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality, HealthyWomen, The Latino Coalition, National Black Nurses Association, National Grange, National Hispanic Council on Aging, National Minority Quality Forum, and Prevent Cancer Foundation.
Detecting cancer early is key to extending patients’ survival. Today, the benefits of early cancer detection are limited to five cancers – breast, colon, prostate, cervical and lung – and over 70% of the 600,000 annual cancer deaths are caused by types of cancer that do not have a Medicare-covered early detection test. Across most cancers, and particularly for cancers without screenings, people of color are more likely to be diagnosed in the later stages compared to non-Hispanic whites (NHW) creating an urgent need to ensure access to tools that will improve early detection.
“If we’re going to close systemic gaps in cancer care and reduce patient risk, it’s imperative that we catch cancer earlier in minority communities,” said Gary. A. Puckrein, Ph.D., President and CEO of NMQF. “Multi-cancer early detection technologies have the potential to shift the early cancer detection paradigm for everyone. Equitable access must be built in from the start. We applaud the more than 130 Congressional leaders who have recognized this and co-sponsored the Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act. Now is the time to ensure it becomes law.”
To elevate the urgency around addressing inequities in late-stage cancer diagnoses and spur policymakers to act, today, NMQF launched a new online resource: www.cancerequity.org. The advocacy hub serves as a destination where stakeholders can learn about the issue as well as the technological and policy solutions. Earlier this year, NMQF published a white paper titled “Late-Stage Diagnosis of Unscreened Cancers: A Health Disparity” that explores the topic in-depth.
About the National Minority Quality Forum
The National Minority Quality Forum assists health care providers, professionals, administrators, researchers, policymakers, and community and faith-based organizations in delivering appropriate health care to minority communities. This assistance is based on providing the evidence in the form of science, research, and analysis that will lead to the effective organization and management of system resources to improve the quality and safety of health care for the entire population of the U.S., including minorities. For more information, please visit www.nmqf.org.
Kelly Ann Collins