Prevention in Action: Biden’s proposed new health agency, expanded lung cancer and more

Published on April 16, 2021

Prevention in Action | Advocacy news for cancer prevention & early detection


President Biden proposes new health agency to focus on cancer and other diseases

On April 9, President Biden announced his FY2022 budget proposal, which include plans for a new health agency, the Advanced Research Project Agency-Health (ARPA-H), to drive innovation and find cures for cancer and other diseases. In his proposal, President Biden requests $6.5 billion to speed up the process of pushing breakthrough cures out to patients.  

The plan also includes a 23% funding increase to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including more than $8.7 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the highest funding level for the agency in two decades. A larger spending proposal will be released later in the spring to address Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

The Prevent Cancer Foundation is closely tracking the ARPA-H proposal and will share more details on the program as they become available.

USPSTF expands lung cancer screening eligibility 

In March, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released new guidelines on lung cancer screening which expand coverage for people ages 50-80 with a 20 pack-year history who currently smoke or have quit within the last 15 years. (A “pack-year” is the equivalent of smoking one pack per day for a year.) In previous recommendations published in 2013, the USPSTF recommended lung cancer screening for those ages 55-80 with a 30 pack-year history. 
By lowering the eligible screening age and smoking criteria, the USPSTF has effectively expanded screening access to millions more smokers or former smokers. According to The Washington Post, the change means that 15 million people will now be eligible for lung cancer screening.

The Prevent Cancer Foundation has long been an advocate for lung cancer screening and applauds the USPSTF for expanding access to screening. Still, the Foundation urges the USPSTF to go even further by expanding the “look-back” requirement for former smokers (currently 15 years) and including additional risks for lung cancer in the eligibility guidelines, such as environmental tobacco smoke and risks not related to tobacco, such as occupational exposures and exposure to radon. Implementing these changes would go further in expanding access to screening and reducing lung cancer health disparities for Black people and women.

Learn more about how to reduce your risk of lung cancer.

Prevent Cancer Foundation supports the Prevent HPV Cancers Act

The Prevent Cancer Foundation applauds Representatives Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) and Kim Schrier (D-Md.) for the introduction of the Promoting Resources to Expand Vaccination, Education and New Treatments for HPV Cancers Act (H.R. 1550), or the PREVENT HPV Cancers Act. This legislation aims to increase research, awareness and access to the HPV vaccine. The human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause at least six types of cancers, which leads to nearly 36,000 cases of cancer each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

The PREVENT HPV Cancers Act would:

  • Create a CDC-run national public awareness campaign to increase HPV vaccination rates (especially among males and communities most impacted by HPV-related cancers) and increase Americans’ understanding of HPV-related cancers.
  • Increase funding at the National Cancer Institute to expand, intensify and coordinate research on HPV-related cancers.
  • Give states additional resources to improve their immunization information systems.
  • Focus on early detection by expanding funding for the CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program to make sure we are getting the resources out to medically underserved communities who all too often bear the brunt of cervical cancer deaths.

The Prevent Cancer Foundation is closely monitoring this legislation and will provide updates as they become available. The Foundation encourages all parents to think about the link between HPV and cancer and get their kids vaccinated. Visit Think About the Link® to learn more.


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