Published on March 31, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, congressional leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced bipartisan legislation that recognizes emerging advances in our nation’s fight against cancer by ensuring Medicare can make a coverage decision for new, innovative tests that can detect multiple types of cancer. The Nancy Gardner Sewell Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act will allow older Americans with Medicare the possibility of access to multi-cancer early detection (MCED) tests once they are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and shown to have clinical benefit. H.R. 2407 is sponsored by U.S. Reps. Jodey Arrington (Texas-19), Terri Sewell (Ala.-07), Richard Hudson (N.C.-09) and Raul Ruiz (Calif.-25). This legislation modernizes the Medicare program and creates a benefit category for MCED tests, which allows the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to initiate an evidenced-based coverage process for multi-cancer tests upon FDA approval.
For two years, the Prevent Cancer Foundation has led more than 400 organizations from all 50 states in support of the Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act. “Without systems driving us forward to ignite change, existing disparities and the number of cancers found in late stages are likely to remain stagnant or even worsen,” said Jody Hoyos, CEO of the Prevent Cancer Foundation. “We cannot move forward in decreasing health inequities and reducing cancer mortality without innovations that detect more cancers early and are accessible to all who need them.”
Current screenings for breast, cervical, colorectal, lung and prostate cancers are vital in reducing the burden of cancer. Finding cancer early, before it has spread to other parts of the body, increases the likelihood treatment will be successful, lowers the cost of treatment and improves quality of life for patients and their caregivers. Today, there are recommended routine screenings for only a few of more than 200 cancers, leaving most cancers undetected until symptoms appear, often in later stages.
The Prevent Cancer Foundation has always been a champion for cancer prevention and early detection efforts. In the Foundation’s first annual Early Detection Survey, released in February 2023, 65% of Americans 21 years of age and older said they are not up to date with one or more routine cancer screenings.
“It’s time to shift the power from cancer to the people,” said Ms. Hoyos. “Results from our latest survey indicate a need for continued innovation with less invasive or faster tests. Innovations designed to be complimentary to—not a replacement for—existing screenings will make it easier for Americans to check their health. That is what multi-cancer early detection has the power to do.”
This bipartisan legislation recognizes emerging advances in the fight against cancer by ensuring Medicare can make a timely coverage decision for new, innovative tests that can detect multiple types of cancer before symptoms develop. The Prevent Cancer Foundation is grateful to the bill’s co-sponsors, who are leading the way in Congress to make potentially lifesaving cancer detection technologies available to those who need them most.
If you are with an advocacy, medical, community or public health focused organization interested in joining the Prevent Cancer Foundation in support of the Nancy Gardner Sewell Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act, contact Caitlin Kubler, Director of Policy and Advocacy, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about MCED tests and legislative developments, visit preventcancer.org/early.
About the Prevent Cancer Foundation®
The Prevent Cancer Foundation® is the only U.S.-based nonprofit organization solely dedicated to 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. We are driven by a vision of a world where cancer is preventable, detectable and beatable for all.
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.