Published on September 10, 2021
For Immediate Release
Vice President of Public Relations
775-636 2567 (cell)
Alexandria, Va. (Sept. 13, 2021) — The Prevent Cancer Foundation® today released a new white paper detailing a patient-centered approach to multi-cancer early detection (MCED) testing. These tests have been identified as a priority, given the Foundation’s mission of saving lives across all populations through cancer prevention and early detection, and this topic served as the basis for the Foundation’s annual Advocacy Workshop on June 17, 2021.
This workshop convened a forum of patients, providers, advocacy organizations and other partners to engage in a dialogue around emerging technology in cancer prevention and control. The event featured speakers and breakout sessions focused on patient-centered considerations for MCED testing, primarily access, affordability, acceptance and accountability. Numerous specialty care and advocacy organizations were represented, including the Cancer Policy Institute at the Cancer Support Community, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, the Mayo Clinic, the American Cancer Society-Cancer Action Network and Livestrong Cancer Institutes at the Dell Medical School.
Jody Hoyos, president and chief operating officer of the Prevent Cancer Foundation, says that while MCED tests offer hope that one day most cancers will be detected early enough to be successfully treated, patient needs and preferences must be considered before these tests are administered population-wide.
“By expanding the benefits of early detection to more cancers and more people—especially individuals in racial and ethnic minority groups, individuals with no insurance coverage, and people with complex medical needs and others where screening rates are low and late-stage diagnoses are high—outcomes for cancer patients could also improve,” Hoyos said.
Multi-cancer early detection testing is a new type of screening that uses advances in genomic science and machine learning to transform cancer detection. It has the capability to find tiny amounts of cancer DNA and other markers in the bloodstream. Researchers have recently combined different markers together in a multi-analyte blood test to detect multiple kinds of cancer within one test.
“A blood test capable of detecting many cancer types could have a tremendous impact in helping people access more effective treatment,” Hoyos said. “As these tests move forward in development, planning and implementation, it is paramount that patients remain at the center of the conversation. Only then can we move closer to our goal of creating a world where no one dies of cancer.”
A breakout group on affordability found that the cost of the test is only one part of the equation. Other factors, including childcare, transportation and time off work, must be considered. Deploying vehicles or carriers to meet the patient where it is most convenient for them could reduce these barriers, the participants found.
Acceptance was also addressed, with participants noting that perception is the most important factor in health care services—not science or fact, but rather the perception of risks and benefits. In creating a patient-centered framework, relationships, rather than transactions, are critical, the group found. Relationships build trust and trust profoundly impacts an individual’s overall acceptance.
Participants in the accountability group shared considerations for both health care provider and test developer accountability, including clear communication on testing methodologies and benefits and the use of familiar language. Accountable parties include developers/manufacturers, health care providers and systems, regulatory bodies, payers, advocacy organizations and patients.
“It’s very important that we consider all aspects of MCED testing. Behind each of the data points are people,” Hoyos said.
Read the findings to learn more about patient-centered approaches to multi-cancer early detection testing. For more information on the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s ongoing work on MCED tests, visit preventcancer.org/early.
Prevent Cancer Foundation’s 2021 Advocacy Workshop was sponsored by Thrive, an Exact Sciences Company; Genentech; Foundation Medicine, Inc.; GRAIL; and Guardant Health.
About the Prevent Cancer Foundation®
The Prevent Cancer Foundation® is celebrating 35 years as the only U.S. nonprofit organization focused solely on saving lives across all populations through cancer prevention and early detection. Through research, education, outreach and advocacy, we have helped countless people avoid a cancer diagnosis or detect their cancer early enough to be successfully treated.
The Foundation is rising to meet the challenge of reducing cancer deaths by 40% by 2035. To achieve this, we are committed to investing $20 million for innovative technologies to detect cancer early and advance multi-cancer screening, $10 million to expand cancer screening and vaccination access to medically underserved communities, and $10 million to educate the public about screening and vaccination options. For more information, please visit www.preventcancer.org.