Last week, Vice President Joe Biden presented the Cancer Moonshot Task Force Report. The Cancer Moonshot is a program launched by President Obama in his 2016 State of the Union Address with a mission “to make a decade’s worth of progress in preventing, diagnosing, and treating cancer in just 5 years.” Colorectal cancer features prominently in Biden’s report, including a shout-out to the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT) and American Cancer Society’s “80% by 2018” initiative.
The Cancer Moonshot is an important and exciting step in the war on cancer. As the task force report details, the goals of the Moonshot are far-reaching and ambitious, but also achievable. An unprecedented number of government agencies are working together and engaging the private sector to accomplish the following strategic goals:
- Catalyze new scientific breakthroughs
- Unleash the power of data
- Accelerate bringing new therapies to patients
- Strengthen prevention and diagnosis
- Improve patient access and care
In discussing goal #4, to strengthen prevention and diagnosis, the report details “longer-term projects” including “expand colorectal cancer screening efforts in the United States” and “remove barriers that limit access to colorectal cancer screening.”
The Cancer Moonshot report states that increasing access to screening is a priority and mentions 80% by 2018 as one of the screening initiatives currently supported by the National Comprehensive Cancer Control Program (NCCCP). We are proud that our very own Dr. Thomas Weber is a current member and Chair Emeritus of the Steering Committee of the NCCRT, and we are also proud to be one of over 1,000 organizations who have partnered with the NCCRT and the American Cancer Society to help spread the word about 80% by 2018.
So what is 80% by 2018? It is a goal: to have 80% of adults aged 50 and older screened for colorectal cancer by 2018 (currently, about 1/3 of this population, or 23 million people, are not getting tested as recommended). It is also a pledge, taken by both organizations and individuals, to get smart, get screened, and help spread the word. As an organization, we have committed to help eliminate disparities in access to screening by empowering and educating our constituents via our website, outreach efforts, and Colon Cancer Challenge events. As an individual, you can make a commitment to educate yourself about when to get screened and what symptoms to look out for; to follow a healthy diet and lifestyle; and to help spread the word to your family, friends, and community. Join us!