Improving equity in cancer screening

Sept. 26, 2022
Initial $5 million investment supports Cancer Moonshot Initiative.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), awarded over $5 million to 11 HRSA-funded community health centers to facilitate access to life-saving cancer screenings and early detection services for underserved populations. These partnerships are bringing health centers together with National Cancer Institute (NCI)-Designated Cancer Centers.

Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the United States, with nearly 600,000 deaths annually. Significant disparities continue to exist in screening and follow-up care after an abnormal cancer screening test result, based on an individual’s income, insurance status, and race or ethnicity. These cancers can be prevented or detected early through appropriate screening and timely follow-up care.

The awards focus on increasing equitable access to cancer screening for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer. Health centers will conduct patient outreach in underserved communities to promote early detection of cancer, connect patients to screening services, and provide hands-on assistance with accessing high quality cancer care and treatment as needed.

The health centers receiving Accelerating Cancer Screening awards must work with NCI-Designated Cancer Centers, which will deploy their outreach specialists and patient navigators in the health center’s service area. Example activities may include care coordination; patient engagement and activation; enhancing virtual care capabilities; tracking patient screening, referrals, and follow-up; enhancing health IT workflows; and workforce engagement, training, and recruitment. NCI-Designated Cancer Centers are characterized by scientific excellence and the capability to integrate a diversity of research approaches to focus on the problem of cancer.

HHS release