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First Lady Dr. Jill Biden Joins the American Cancer Society to Launch Roundtables on Breast and Cervical Cancer in the Next Step Toward Cancer Moonshot

The roundtables bring together a diverse coalition of national organizations and advocates to prioritize equitable access to the prevention, screening,…

By Girl Power News , in News , at October 26, 2022

The roundtables bring together a diverse coalition of national organizations and advocates to prioritize equitable access to the prevention, screening, early detection, and diagnosis of cancer.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) and the White House unite to launch the ACS National Breast Cancer Roundtable and the ACS National Roundtable on Cervical Cancer on Monday, October 24th. The roundtables are in response to President Biden’s relaunch of Cancer Moonshot, which aims to cut the death rate from cancer by at least 50 percent over the next 25 years and improve the experience of people and their families living with and surviving cancer. First Lady Dr. Jill Biden will host the launch.

“The American Cancer Society and its partners are answering President Biden’s call to mobilize in the fight to end cancer as we know it,” said Dr. Karen Knudsen, MBA, Ph.D., CEO of the American Cancer Society.  “We’re at a point where we can change the trajectory of cancer by eliminating cervical cancer in our lifetime and significantly reduce devastating disparities in breast cancer mortality, but we need to act now.”

The ACS-led roundtables provide the nation with an effective and proven model to catalyze change and investment across the cancer continuum by utilizing an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach. In bringing together scientists, the medical community, leading public health agencies, the private sector and community organizations, the President’s goal can be achieved by accelerating our efforts to improve cancer outcomes.

The ACS National Breast Cancer Roundtable aims to accelerate progress across the breast cancer spectrum through strategic partnerships to eliminate disparities and reduce mortality. The group will be chaired by Dr. Arif Kamal, chief patient officer at the American Cancer Society; Dr. Olufunmilayo F. Olopade, UChicago Medicine and Dr. John Williams, President’s Cancer Panel, Breast Cancer School for Patients.

The ACS National Roundtable on Cervical Cancer is a coalition of organizations dedicated to cervical cancer elimination in our lifetime. It will engage key organizations to institute policy and systems changes to improve prevention, screening, and treatment and to reduce barriers to care, eliminate disparities, reduce harms, and promote new technologies. This roundtable will be chaired by Deborah Arrindell, Health Policy American Sexual Health Association; Dr. Akiva Novetsky, Westchester Medical Center/New York Medical College and Dr. Debbie Saslow, American Cancer Society.

Among the special guests attending the roundtable launch will be breast cancer advocates Wendy Raquel Robinson and Mary J. Blige.  They will be joined by breast cancer and cervical cancer survivors.

“These roundtables will bring together leading organizations and experts to drive progress and improve the lives of people living with cancer, as well as support their families,” said Kamal, who is serving as the ACS Breast Cancer Roundtable tri-chair. “We are the recognized leader for cancer roundtables, and we are well positioned to quickly make a collective impact against cancer and close the gaps in disparities.”

“We are at an exciting turning point when it comes to cervical cancer and breast cancer innovation. We know we can save more lives from these diseases by prioritizing equitable access to lifesaving services to detect breast and cervical cancers early and treat them effectively,” said Lisa Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society’s advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN.) “ACS CAN is committed to amplifying the roundtable work through public policy to reduce health disparities in breast and cervical cancer by advocating at the state and federal levels for increased funding for the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, which provides screenings and treatment to under and uninsured women. If we are going to end cancer as we know it, for everyone, we must increase access to screening and innovative care for all.”

“Cervical cancer is a mostly preventable cancer, which makes it relatively unique as a cancer. Despite this, 13,000 people a year in the US are diagnosed annually with cervical cancer and globally it is one of the most common and most deadly cancers,” said Novetsky. “We must ensure that people feel comfortable getting the preventative care that they need and that these are readily accessible to all people while minimizing the financial and time burden.”

The urgency to increase progress against breast and cervical cancer is underscored by recent ACS data and analysis that found 287,850 new cases of breast cancer and 43,250 deaths are expected in 2022, with an additional 14,100 new cases and 4,280 deaths from cervical cancer. Finding breast cancer early and getting state-of-the-art cancer treatment are two of the most important strategies for preventing deaths from breast cancer. The data also underscores the focus on health equity.  Black women have lower breast cancer incidence than white women but 40% higher breast cancer mortality. This racial disparity has persisted unabated since 2011.

Similarly, Black women are 18 percent more likely than white women to be diagnosed with cervical cancer yet have a 52 percent higher chance of dying than white women.

The rate of cervical cancer, which is almost completely preventable through screening and vaccination, is 32% higher in Hispanic women in the continental U.S. and Hawaii and 78% higher in Puerto Rico compared to non-Hispanic white women. Once again, access to high-quality prevention, early detection and treatment would reduce this burden.

The roundtables align with the President’s  Cancer Panel Report – Closing Gaps in Cancer Screening: Connecting People, Communities, and Systems to Improve Equity and Access. Additionally, the roundtables are consistent with the ACS National Consortium for Cancer Screening and Care recommendations to accelerate the adoption of evidence-based cancer screening intervention and policies through coordinated efforts from roundtables and coalitions.

About The American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society is a leading cancer-fighting organization with a vision to end cancer as we know it, for everyone. For more than 100 years, we have been improving the lives of people with cancer and their families as the only organization combating cancer through advocacy, research, and patient support.  We are committed to ensuring everyone has an opportunity to prevent, detect, treat, and survive cancer. To learn more, visit cancer.org or call our 24/7 helpline at 1-800-227-2345. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.