U.S. healthcare providers need improved access to interventions known to prevent common causes of cancer death so the country can achieve President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot initiative goal of reducing the cancer death rate by at least 50% over the next 25 years, according to a National Institutes of Health study published in April 2023 that was led by National Cancer Institute (NCI) researchers.

“Achieving a 50% reduction in cancer mortality in 25 years will be impossible without addressing cancer health equity,” Monica M. Bertagnolli, MD, NCI director who coauthored an accompanying commentary on the study, said. “For several of the strategies highlighted in this study, improving access is critical.”

The NCI researchers outlined specific actions and opportunities:

  • Reducing the prevalence of cigarette smoking and use of other tobacco products
  • Increasing the use of colonoscopy to prevent and detect colorectal cancer
  • Increasing the use of hormone therapy to prevent and treat breast cancer
  • Increasing detection and treatment of hepatitis B and hepatitis C viral infections to prevent liver cancer

The researchers also identified the need for new strategies to eliminate inequities in access to cancer interventions and reduce deaths from prostate, liver, pancreatic, and other cancers.