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National Minority Quality Forum’s Cancer Stage Shifting Initiative Launches Website Exploring the Future of Multi-Cancer Early Detection & Equitable Cancer Care



01 November 2022

Exact Sciences and National Minority Quality Forum are leading the new #ShiftCancer initiative in support of the Cancer Moonshot Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 2022) — The National Minority Quality Forum, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring high-risk racial and ethnic populations receive optimal healthcare, shared the release of their website for the Cancer Stage Shifting Initiative.  This groundbreaking initiative is aligned with President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot 2.0 – a renewed call to action towards reducing the cancer death rate by at least 50 percent over the next 25 years.  The National Minority Quality Forum is proud to collaborate with Exact Sciences Corporation, a molecular diagnostics company with an emphasis on the detection of early stage cancers, as a founding sponsor of this initiative.

The mission of the Cancer Stage Shifting Initiative is to move medical standards in the country from late-stage to early-stage detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer; improving cancer care, and reducing the incidence of cancer deaths for all, with a particular focus on health equity in underrepresented populations. 

Racial and ethnic minorities carry a disproportionate burden of cancer diagnosis and death. Routine cancer screening tests currently covered by Medicare can detect only five cancer types—lung, breast, cervical, colorectal, and prostate—which means there are no early detection tests for 70% of incident cancers. While scientific advancements in cancer screenings have improved patient outcomes and quality of life, cancers without screenings are more likely to be found in the later stages for people who are Black, Hispanic, or American Indian/Alaska Native.

“Earlier detection of cancer should be accessible to everyone, not just those who can afford to pay out-of-pocket,” said Dr. Gary Puckrein, President and Chief Executive Officer at the National Minority Quality Forum. “When cancer is found at earlier stages, there are better options for treatment and greater opportunity for survival. That’s the goal here–we want to shift the stage that cancer is detected among everyone, but especially black and brown people–who historically have had low or inadequate health insurance coverage, or a higher prevalence of other chronic diseases such as diabetes, which reduce the likelihood of cancer survival.” 

Initiative to Increase Awareness & Access to Multi-Cancer Early Detection Testing

A focus of phase one of the Cancer Stage Shifting Initiative is to increase awareness and access to multi-cancer early detection (MCED) tests. MCED tests are blood-based tests (also called liquid biopsies) that are designed to identify the presence of cancer in early, more treatable stages. MCED tests:

  • Are designed to detect many types of cancers by looking for cancer signals in the blood.
  • Are designed to be complementary and additive to existing screenings.
  • Use genomic science and machine learning to transform detection.

“Our vision at Exact Sciences is to eradicate cancer and the suffering it causes through tests that detect cancer earlier – and we can’t do that alone,” said Kevin Conroy, Chairman and CEO of Exact Sciences. “Through partnerships with organizations like NMQF, we are working to ensure all patients have access to cancer screening.”

The Cancer Stage Shifting Initiative coordinates advocacy and education, access to clinical research, representative data, quality improvements in care, and community engagement focused on early detection and treatment of cancer in underserved populations.

The initiative has a two-pronged approach:

  • Increase early detection rates for cancers with established screening and guidelines
  • Screen for cancer regardless of location in the body through the clinical development and reimbursement of MCED technologies, and ensure an efficient patient pathway to subsequent diagnosis and treatment.

New Online Hub to Advance Equitable Cancer Care for Vulnerable Communities

The newly launched online hub includes several interactive features designed to increase awareness about cancer disparities, innovation in early detection/treatment, and provide patient-oriented and clinician-oriented resources to close gaps in cancer care delivery. 

“The Shift Cancer website is an interactive public resource for medical professionals, researchers, policymakers and patients alike to gain a better understanding of the cost of cancer to vulnerable communities,” said Adjoa Kyerematen, National Minority Quality Forum spokeswoman. “It’s a one-stop shop roadmap towards accessing innovation and enabling equitable cancer care that changes what cancer in this country looks like for everyone.”

ShiftCancer.Org Hub Features Include:

  • Flight Plan to Equity Cancer Timeline Simulator
      • Interactive simulator with information on financial impact, survival, and hospitalization rates of late detection in prevalent cancer tumor types.
    • Innovation Center
      • Information on innovative cancer care including diagnostic tools and treatment Innovation educational video series that highlights innovations working to eliminate cancer disparities
  • Cancer Command Center
    • Interactive Map of Areas of High Cancer Incidences or Risk of Cancer
    • Patient Headquarters featuring FAQ center with financial resources, “Share Your Story” engagement module, local cancer organization locator, and cancer screening locator
    • Clinician Command Center featuring principal investigator training enrollment, access to sign up for clinical investigative site network, and anti-racism/implicit bias training resources
  • Policy Action Center and Latest News
    • Information on the latest news and grassroots action in support of policies that address barriers to equitable cancer care

For more information, sign up at http://shiftcancer.org/contact/

1. American Cancer Society. Meidcare Coverage for Cancer Prevention and Early Detection. https://www.cancer.org/treatment/finding-and-paying-for-treatment/understanding-health-insurance/government-funded-programs/medicare-medicaid/medicare-coverage-for-cancer-prevention-and-early-detection.html#written_by. May 2022.
2. *Calculated using estimated new cases of cancers that have standard of care screening: breast, cervical, colorectal and lung (high-risk for each sex) against all sites.
3.  Siegel RL, Miller KD, Fuchs HE, Jemal A. Cancer statistics, 2022. CA Cancer J Clin. 2022;72:7-33.
4.  Cohen JD, Li L, Wang Y, et al. Detection and localization of surgically resectable cancers with a multi-analyte blood test. Science. 2018;359(6378):926-930.



Media Contact
Adjoa Kyerematen
[email protected]

About National Minority Quality Forum

The National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit research and advocacy organization based in Washington, DC. The mission of NMQF 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. For more information, please visit www.nmqf.org



National Minority Quality Forum is a research and educational organization dedicated to ensuring that high-risk racial and ethnic populations and communities receive optimal health care. This nonprofit, nonpartisan organization integrates data and expertise in support of initiatives to eliminate health disparities.

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