Biden announces $240M investment to accelerate new ways to prevent, treat cancer
As Part of President Biden’s Unity Agenda, White House Cancer Moonshot Announces New Actions and Commitments to End Cancer as We Know It
Today, President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will convene a meeting of the Cancer Cabinet to announce new actions federal agencies are taking to advance the mission of the White House Cancer Moonshot, as well as new commitments the Biden-Harris Administration has secured from non-governmental organizations and the private sector to deliver progress on the mission to end cancer as we know it.
Last year, the President and First Lady reignited the Cancer Moonshot with the goals of reducing the cancer death rate in the United States by at least half—preventing more than 4 million cancer deaths—by 2047 and improving the experience of people who are touched by cancer. The President also established a Cancer Cabinet to mobilize the entire Biden-Harris Administration in pursuit of these ambitious goals. In the time since, the Cancer Moonshot has announced roughly 50 new programs, policies, and resources and secured more than 100 commitments from private companies, non-profit organizations, patient groups, and more toward the President’s and First Lady’s goals.
Accelerating the fight against cancer is a core component of the President’s Unity Agenda, a set of priorities that Americans from every walk of life can support. In his State of the Union address earlier this year, President Biden laid out a bold vision to advance his Unity Agenda, including the work of the Cancer Moonshot, specifically by driving innovation that changes patient outcomes, providing support to families as they navigate a cancer diagnosis, and preventing cancer by tackling the biggest single driver of cancer deaths in this country—smoking. Today’s actions build on the progress the Cancer Moonshot has delivered since then, and at today’s Cancer Cabinet meeting, the President and First Lady will hear from Cabinet leaders on the progress made and the important work ahead.
Today’s announcements from the Biden Cancer Moonshot include:
New investments to reduce the impact of menthol and other flavored commercial tobacco products in communities that experience health disparities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is announcing awardees of a new five-year, $15 million program to help increase adoption, implementation, and enforcement of policies prohibiting the sale of menthol and other flavored tobacco products and increase awareness of cessation services and coverage options among populations experiencing tobacco-related disparities in order to accelerate smoking cessation.
A new plan to decrease the impact of smoking on Americans’ health by expanding efforts to prevent smoking and to support everyone who wants to quit. While the United States has made important progress, smoking remains the biggest single driver of cancer deaths in the country. To ensure Americans who want to quit have the support they need, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will finalize its Framework to Support and Accelerate Smoking Cessation this year. This Framework, which was developed with public input, will be a roadmap for enhancing collaboration and coordination across HHS—and with federal agencies and non-governmental organizations—to equitably accelerate smoking cessation progress, with a specific focus on communities disproportionately impacted by tobacco use.
New smoking cessation resources for underserved communities, including American Indian, Alaska Native, and Black communities, to reduce cancer health disparities. National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) SmokeFree.gov initiative is extending a partnership with the Indian Health Service to collaborate with experts from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and the American Indian Cancer Foundation to launch SmokeFreeNative, a text messaging program to help American Indian and Alaska Native adolescents and adults quit smoking, while honoring the significance of traditional tobacco. Additionally, NCI is launching digital resources this fall on www.smokefree.gov to encourage and help people who smoke menthol cigarettes to quit. These resources were created to address barriers to quitting in communities that experience disparities caused by menthol cigarette use, with a particular focus on Black communities.
A new pilot program to increase veteran engagement in tobacco use treatment. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), in collaboration with NCI, will conduct a clinical demonstration project to assess how to more effectively engage veterans in tobacco-use treatment programs. This clinical demonstration project will be implemented in the next year across a subset of Veterans Integrated Services Network clinical resource hubs and aims to address the high rates of tobacco use among veterans with mental health disorders and address gaps in the provision of treatment across facilities.
New resources and actions to reduce exposures to environmental carcinogens. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is launching epa.gov/cancer, with new information and prominently featured resources from EPA and other federal agencies about secondhand smoke, smoking cessation, and other cancer-related topics. New regulatory efforts, through rules and standards in progress, will regulate unreasonable cancer risks associated with carcinogenic chemicals under statutes including the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Clean Air Act. EPA will also continue to leverage its existing authorities under our nation’s bedrock health and environmental laws to accelerate the rate of progress to prevent cancer, including phase-outs of carcinogens, regulatory actions to protect children, workers and overburdened communities, and enforcement actions to ensure pollution is curbed. The Administration’s efforts to fight cancer linked with environmental exposure also advance President Biden’s commitment to environmental justice for all.
The Cancer Moonshot is also announcing the following new commitments from non-governmental organizations:
The American Cancer Society (ACS) will create a new oncology professional navigator curricula and certification program. In 2024, the ACS, with input from key partners, will lead the creation and implementation of a standardized national curricula for professional, non-clinician navigators to support people with cancer. Navigation by trained professionals in clinical settings is an integral component to improving cancer outcomes in the United States, helping to ensure every cancer patient has access to timely, quality, and culturally competent care, especially in historically marginalized communities. Additionally, ACS with will work with key partners to establish new programs such as navigator certification to support evaluation and adherence to best practices that align with improved outcomes.
The African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC) is launching a coordinated effort to make Emotional Brain Training (EBT) services available for stress management and smoking cessation. In collaboration with the University of California, San Francisco Smoking Cessation Leadership Center, AATCLC will launch a coordinated effort within three months to promote the use of a free app for anyone new to EBT to gain easily scalable, rapid-acting tools to assist with smoking cessation. EBT has shown long-term effectiveness in treating stress overload, as well as mood and addictive behaviors including smoking.
CVS Health will be launching an expanded smoking cessation program in a dozen states. In addition to their currently offered smoking cessation and counseling, CVS Health will launch a comprehensive smoking cessation assessment, prescribing and counseling program at its retail pharmacies in 12 states, further increasing patient access to smoking cessation care. Combined with its expanding digital capabilities, CVS Health will be able to reach patients in their neighborhoods, helping address health disparities and breaking down barriers to care, building on their commitment to not sell tobacco products.
The National LGBT Cancer Network is making tailored tobacco cessation materials more readily available. LGBTQIA+ communities use commercial tobacco products at rates 49 percent higher than the general population, but there is a dearth of tailored cessation materials for these communities. Building on its community tailored website and a series of social media shareables, the National LGBT Cancer Network is creating at least six LGBTQIA+ tailored, print-based tobacco cessation materials, and will launch a print-on-demand store with all these materials available in the next year. The National LGBT Cancer Network will work with stakeholders like the North American Quitline Consortium, NCI-designated cancer centers, and community members to ensure these materials are compelling and motivational, and widely promote their availability.
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