Following the February 2 release of the President’s Cancer Panel Report, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) issued comments in support of the President’s call for increasing cancer screening across the US and the plan’s four targeted goals to close gaps in screening.
“Screening is one of our best strategies for detecting cancers early when the disease can be cured. If we find a cancer early, we have more options to treat and cure a patient,” said ACS Cancer Programs Medical Director Heidi Nelson, MD, FACS.
In an effort to address issues surrounding delayed screenings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ACS Cancer Programs collaborated with the American Cancer Society on the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) quality improvement initiative and clinical study to accelerate screening numbers in the US. By providing easy-to-adopt plans that leveraged existing guidelines, messaging, and interventions, accredited programs worked to increase access to, and participation in, crucial cancer screenings. When national resources were provided, including methods to calculate local screening deficits, 748 cancer programs enrolled in the national Return-to-Screening study and the majority identified local screening deficits, most notably in colorectal cancer. Using these results, 814 quality improvement projects were initiated, with the potential to add 70,000 screening tests per month in 2021.
“We applaud the President’s commitment to increasing screening as part of his renewed effort to improve outcomes for cancer patients across the nation. We stand ready to do our part to support this critically important work. Our cancer screening efforts show how important it is to have a plan ready that’s hard wired to deal with adverse circumstances, such as those we’ve encountered during the pandemic. While we don’t yet know what the full downstream effect will be from screening delays, we are confident that these efforts will make an impact and help improve outcomes for patients,” said ACS Executive Director Patricia L. Turner, MD, MBA, FACS. “The ACS welcomes the opportunity to join with other stakeholders in this collective effort to improve screenings, reduce disparities, and end cancer as we know it.”