National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) strongly supports the leaders in Congress,  Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Tim Scott (R-SC) who have introduced the Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act of 2021 (S. 1873).

Multi-cancer early detection technology will help patients and their health care providers find cancer early before it has spread to other parts of the body, increasing the likelihood that the patient’s treatment will be successful. The Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act of 2021 aims to modernize Medicare to ensure seniors will have access to revolutionary multi-cancer early detection screening technology once FDA has approved tests currently in development. 

NMQF recently released a paper entitled “Late-Stage Diagnosis of Unscreened Cancers: A Health Disparity,” exploring the role of late-stage cancer diagnosis in disparities in cancer care. This legislation is a critical step toward mitigating those challenges and advancing health equity in communities of color. And last month, NMQF signed a letter in support of the Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act along with over 300 organizations in all 50 states, led by the Prevent Cancer Foundation. 

Soon, cancer will be the leading cause of death in the United States. The American Cancer Society’s 2021 Cancer Facts & Figures estimates that 608,570 Americans will die of cancer in 2021. Racial and ethnic minorities continue to bear a higher cancer burden, and late-stage diagnosis of unscreened cancers remains disproportionately higher among Black and Brown communities.  Innovative screening technology could improve cancer outcomes for everyone, but especially communities of color, helping to close persistent disparities in health outcomes. 

“Increased risks for certain cancers and lack of access to services are a major component of healthcare disparities that minority communities face every day,” said Gary A. Puckrein, Ph.D., NMQF President and CEO. “African Americans have the highest cancer mortality rates of any racial or ethnic group. Hispanics are less likely to be diagnosed with cancer than non-Hispanic whites. By increasing and improving early diagnoses, MCED could help close cancer disparity gaps and reduce patient risk in these communities.”

S. 1873 is a critical step toward removing barriers to access and coverage for preventive cancer technologies. Thank you to the bill’s sponsors, who are working to make potentially lifesaving cancer detection technologies available. 

About National Minority Quality Forum
The mission of National Minority Quality Forum is to reduce patient risk by assuring optimal care for all. NMQF’s vision is an American health services research, delivery and financing system whose operating principle is to reduce patient risk for amenable morbidity and mortality while improving quality of life.

Kelly Ann Collins